MANILA – Health Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque III said Thursday he would like to discuss the implementation of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law with Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, a staunch critic of the law.
“I will get in touch with him (Sotto). We have to make our communication open so that we understand exactly our respective positions. And who knows, at the end of the day, there will be complementation of our positions,” Duque said when he was asked about the senator who has been questioning the budget for the government’s family planning program.
He said he would explain to Sotto the need to implement the provisions of the RH Law to enable the country to carry out the Philippine Health Agenda 2016-2022 and attain the Sustainable Development Goals, one of which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
“We will respect the opinion of Sen. Sotto. But there is a law which the Executive Branch is mandated to execute,” said Duque.
Meanwhile, Duque said that groups dissatisfied with the lifting of the temporary restraining order (TRO) on two subdermal implants after they and 49 other contraceptive products were declared as non-abortifacient, are welcome to file an injunction case.
“That is well within their rights. If they want to file another injunction case, a petition for injunction, it is really up to them. The legal recourse is open to everyone,” he said.
Commission on Population (POPCOM) executive director, Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, in a separate interview, said they are making the necessary preparations to counter any opposition to the lifting of the Supreme Court TRO.
He however said that the opposition so far has no new information to support their arguments.
“Unless they have new information, it will be the same kind of discussion,” said Perez.
The POPCOM chief estimated that six million women across the country are accessing family planning programs, and the figure increases by one million every year.
“With the RH Law now to be fully implemented, maybe we will get over a million new ones annually,” he said.