The Executive Order issued by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte supporting the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law is a major push for the government’s family planning program, which has been hindered by various challenges to the implementation of the landmark law.
The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, remains fully committed to supporting the government and civil society partners on this effort. UNFPA has been working with local governments in ensuring that access to quality reproductive health services, including family planning, will be available especially for the poorest and disadvantaged communities who need these services most.
This contributes as well to the Philippines’ commitment to fulfilling the 2030 sustainable development agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whose aim is ultimately to leave no one behind, especially the most vulnerable.
“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.
“The RPRH Law is a fundamental component to a comprehensive approach to poverty alleviation and human development in the Philippines, and is critical to realizing reproductive rights, reducing maternal mortality and the realization of the development goals on health, gender and poverty,” Mr. Beck added.
The President’s order will help provide new momentum to the implementation of the RPRH Law as it demonstrates the highest level of support to the measure. The EO also 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 EO are implemented.
One key stumbling block to the full implementation of the law is 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 two years now and could adversely impact on the supply of contraceptives in the country if not addressed soon.
Evidence in the Philippines and globally has clearly shown that strengthening sexual and reproductive health significantly supports and enables social and economic development, including women’s empowerment, through a rights-based approach in allowing people to choose if and when to have children, and how many.