MANILA—The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Friday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s issuance of Executive Order No. 12 which supports the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law, saying the move is a major push for the government’s family planning program.
“The full and immediate implementation of the RPRH Law is critically important for the government to deliver on its family planning program, which has been identified by President Duterte as one of his priorities when he assumed office,” said Klaus Beck, UNFPA Country Representative.
At the same time, UNFPA also said that it remains fully committed to supporting the government and civil society partners on this effort. The UNFPA has been working with local governments in ensuring that access to quality reproductive health services, including family planning, is available, especially for the poorest and disadvantaged communities who need these services most.
The UNFPA official also said that the EO which strengthens the family planning scheme as an RPRH component, will contribute to the Philippines’ commitment to fulfill the 2030 sustainable development agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which ultimately aims to leave no one behind, especially the most vulnerable.
The RPRH Law had been hindered in the past by various challenges to its implementation.
The Law is a fundamental component to a comprehensive approach to poverty alleviation and human development in the Philippines.
“It is critical to realizing reproductive rights, including the right to choose freely and responsibly if and when to have children, reducing maternal mortality and the realization of the development goals on health, gender and poverty,” Beck added.
He added that the EO will lend new momentum to the implementation of the RPRH Law as it demonstrates the highest level of support to the measure.
He said the EO also clearly defines the role of various government units in enforcing the law and provides clear instructions on the funding needed to implement it, as well as the accountability mechanism to ensure that the RPRH Law and the informed choice for family planning and access to commodities are assured.
He however expressed concern over the remaining challenge posted by the Philippine Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order on the registration and certification of a list of contraceptives.
“The order has been in effect for more than a year now and could adversely impact on the supply of contraceptives in the country if not addressed soon,” he said.