Press Release
February 10, 2013

RH backers fear ghost of RH inutility

Having won the battle to dole out free condoms and other contraceptives is apparently not enough for the proponents and supporters of the Reproductive Health Law. Now they are peddling half-truths and outright lies to cover up for the duplicity of the new law.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III yesterday took exception to the claim of Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman that the RH law will suffer if the lawmakers who pushed for it in the House of Representatives do not get a fresh term.

"There is a huge amount of money for reproductive, maternal and infant health even without the RH law. The fear of some RH supporters is misplaced, if not a non-sequitur. Let us not simplify the elections as an issue between pro and anti-RH," Sotto said.

On Tuesday, as pro-RH lawmakers celebrate the spoils of the war, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman pitched for the election of more pro-RH lawmakers to ensure sufficient yearly funding for its implementation.

"We must ensure in the coming May elections that the RH advocates get the people's mandate so that adequate and responsive appropriations will be allocated for the RH law," Lagman, who was the main sponsor of the measure in the Lower House, said.

He said one of the major challenges faced by the RH law is for Congress to provide budget for the new law.

On the contrary, Sotto said a cursory check in the 2013 General Appropriations Act for the Department of Health showed that more than P9.1-billion is already allocated for RH-related programs catering to maternal and infant health care.

These are made up of the following items in the budget allocation of the Department of Health:

1. Women's Health And Safe Motherhood Project- 269,860,000.00
2. Family Health and Responsible Parenthood- 2,539,420,000.00
3. Health Family Planning Operations and Infrastructure Programs- 3. 268,902,000.00
4. Health Human Resource Development- 2,952,832,000.00
5. Implementation of Doctors to Barrios and Rural Health Practice Program- 2,799,383,000.00
6. National Health Insurance Programs- 12,612,283,000.00
7. Health Promotion- 162,479,000.00
8. POPCOM -Coordination of the Population Policy and Programs- 187,822,000.00

"All in all, to include other items related to RH programs, there is a whopping P21-billion in the DOH budget that seeks to address maternal and infant health concerns," Sotto said.

Sotto, who questioned the measure in the Senate, said RH proponents could be engaging a self-fulfilling prophecy that the law is actually useless and is bound to be a huge failure.

Even without the RH law, he pointed out that the government has been distributing condoms and pills for free in health clinics that only resulted to wastage of public funds since only a few avail of these artificial birth control methods.

"Our Filipino culture loves children. The Filipino culture is family-oriented. The RH law seeks to debase that culture," he said.

Sotto said that RH proponents and supporters have no one else to blame, except themselves, if the law is found to be inutile in the end. "Are they conditioning the public for scapegoats to blame?" he asked.

The RH law seeks to propagate contraceptive use among the poor to arrest population growth, as well as improving health care for pregnant women. It also provides for age-appropriate sex education in public schools.

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