THE National Economic and Development Authority is planning to draft an executive order that will spell out President Rodrigo Duterte’s “strong position” to carry out the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law.
“The EO is basically a statement of the President—what his stand is, and how he feels about something, and he will show his strong position on the importance of RH implementation,” Economic and Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.
Pernia said the draft EO is being prepared in coordination with the Health department.
Pernia, who is also the director general of Neda, said because the RH law has not been fully implemented, it is challenging to meet the administration’s target to reduce the rate of poverty to 17 percent by 2022.
“If we cannot implement the RH law fully, that will be problematic because to be able to achieve the 17-percent poverty incidence by the end of the term of this President, it will have to be a combination of strong economic growth, lots of jobs, complemented by the full implementation of the RH law so that the poor are able to limit or space their child bearing,” Pernia said.
Pernia said the implementation of RH law will eventually aid in the reduction of poverty, noting that his simulation shows that reducing the size of poor families to three children would bring down the incidence of poverty from 26 percent to 23 percent, based purely on one demographic effect.
He said that if the poorest 40 percent, the bottom two quintiles, were able to achieve their desired family size, then poverty rate would have gone down close to 20 percent.
The EO being drafted is in response to some constraints in the full implementation of the RH law, such as the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court to stop the distribution and sale of implanted contraceptives.
“This is the problem with our judiciary, they take our sweet time,” Pernia said. “They dont realize how serious it is to have a TRO like this because… 11 woman die of pregnancy and birth-related causes [daily]. And this could have been prevented if the TRO were not in effect.”