To proponents of RH law, funding makes a difference

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In a recent 'Tapatan sa Aristocrat' media forum held at the Aristocrat Restaurant, the DOH official revealed that with the implementation of the RH law, comes enormous funding.

MANILA, Feb. 11, 2014—An official from the Department of Health in an interview revealed that the government agency can provide “family planning services” even without a reproductive health (RH) law.

Dr. Ruben Siapno, M.D. assistant regional director of DOH for the National Capital Region (NCR) said that the department ‘will still provide family planning services’ even if the Supreme Court will declare the RH Law unconstitutional.

Siapno admitted that even without the RH Law, certain provisions in the measure can still be implemented especially the need for Maternal Health services such as family planning pills and devices.

When asked of the difference in having an RH law and without it, Siapno quickly answered, “funding.”

Siapno added, “We currently have limitations. We can only provide for the maternal needs of women but with the RH Law we can prepare even the children.”

Early last year, the Commission on Audit (COA) in its 2011 annual audit report of the DOH uncovered over P500 million in fund irregularities from medicine procurement, hospital, medical, various goods and services.

During interpellations on Senate Bill 2865, Senator Pia Cayetano, who sponsored the bill admitted  that DOH had asked for P13.7 billion to implement the RH bill for the year 2012 alone – an amount bigger than the individual budgets of the departments of energy, finance, foreign affairs, justice, labor, science, tourism, and trade.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada in his privilege speech in September last year exposed how ‘incentives’ were offered for the passage of the RH law leading to the revelation of the president’s Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP) now also in question at the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court last year extended indefinitely its order halting the implementation of the RH law. (Paul De Guzman)

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