Press Release
December 4, 2012

DOH allots P500 million for contraceptives under 2013 budget

The Department of Health has set aside more than P500 million in its next year's budget for the purchase of contraceptives while allotting only P31 million for natural family planning.

The huge discrepancy was disclosed by Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto III during interpellations of the DOH budget at the Senate.

The amount is lumped under the Family Health and Responsible Parenting program, which has a budget of P2.539 billion.

Sotto said this proves that there is no need for the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, since the major provisions sought by the measure is already being implemented by the DOH.

In his interpellation on the DOH budget which was sponsored by Senator Franklin Drilon, Sotto itemized the breakdown of the P2.539 billion budget for the family health and parenting program.

These include: reproduction of family planning materials at P3 million; purchase of pills at P245.051 million; injectables, P91.225 million; intra-uterine devices, P170.441 million and bilateral tubal ligation kits , P11.336 million.

It is not clear where the purchase of condoms has been inserted, although there is a provision of P365.719 million as 'Support of Operation of Community Health Team.'

On the other hand, only P31.186 million has been set aside for the acquisition of NFP bundle packs.

Sotto pointed out to Drilon that given the budget for contraceptives, the government has been providing condoms and pills to couples for free since last year.

"I think the people should be informed that we have these, that we have these family planning supplies and birth control methods for free. It is available now. It has been available since last year. Isn't it?" Sotto said.

To which Drilon replied: "Yes."

Apart from these figures, the Population Commission has set aside a budget amounting to P127.501 million for subsidies, grants and contributions in support of the population program, Sotto also pointed out.

Drilon explained that the amount will cover responsible parenthood, barangay classes and natural family planning methods, and dissemination of family planning materials.

The DOH is asking for some P51 billion budget next year, of which P21.7 billion has been earmarked for RH-related services. Sotto summed the figures based on the line budget items identified in the DOH budget.

The biggest bulk, P13.558 billion, has been set aside for Health Facilities Enhancement Program targeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the country for health improvement.

The MDGs are international development goals agreed by members of the United Nations to combat poverty, address illiteracy, maternal deaths, child mortality rates, gender inequality, HIV and other diseases, environmental sustainability and global development. Each country has adopted targets they should achieve by 2015.

Sotto pointed out that the P13.558 billion will finance the Basic Emergency Obstetric and New Born Care (BEMONC) and the Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEMONC).

The DOH budget also included a P2.539 billion budget for Family Health and Responsible Parenthood; P2.9 billion for Human Resource Development and P269.8 million for women's health and safe motherhood project.

Given the proposed DOH budget, Sotto echoed his position that the best argument against the RH is the DOH itself, "because they are already doing this (RH services) and they are doing it well."

"They have a budget for it. They are doing it--but without the provisions that are controversial and questionable on the RH bill. That is the point I would like to stress. Nagagawa ito ng DOH. Kayang gawin ito ng DOH at ginagawa nila ito through the GAA (General Appropriations Act)," Sotto said.

The RH bill, which is now on the stage of amendment in the Senate, has divided the chamber between pros and antis. Those who were opposed on the RH bill argue that it makes contraceptive mentality a national policy and provides an opening for a legislated abortion.

Since the DOH is already performing what the RH hopes to achieve, the senator said the bill has become redundant. He said it is the foreign agencies that are lobbying for the RH bill, with an eye for lucrative market on contraceptives.

"We are for family health, benefits, training for health workers. But we have no need for these foreign organizations coming in dictating to us what to do in making a law, penalizing us if we do not follow the law, mandating the use of contraceptives, IUDs and condoms. We do not need foreign intervention. We do not need the imposition of foreign agencies and foreign groups," Sotto stressed.

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