By Rina Jimenez-David
To mark the first death anniversary of Dr. Alberto “Quasi” Romualdez, former health secretary and staunch campaigner for and defender of health rights, especially reproductive health and rights for the country’s poor, a “memorial event” was hosted by several NGOs and the Department of Health last Monday.
I am one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court case on the Reproductive Health Law, on which a decision was made in April this year. I wish to express my and my family’s conscientious objection to the continuous promotion of various contraceptive drugs and devices by officials of the Department of Health— this, in the absence of implementing rules and regulations (IRR) they should be preparing for the RH Law. It is very sad that we continue to hear of the DOH having procured, distributed, sold and made available contraceptive drugs and devices in the market. Is the DOH ignoring the verdict rendered and the safeguards introduced by the Supreme Court concerning the implementation of the RH Law?
By Carin Van der Hor
The National Youth Commission, supported by the Department of Health and the World Health Organization, convened the 2014 National Summit on Teen Pregnancy last April 24. This summit, which saw the active participation of adolescent youth, delivered a clear message: Adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH), or the lack thereof, is fast becoming the defining issue of this generation of young Filipinos. Without a robust response from all stakeholders, the Philippines is on track toward a full-blown, national teenage pregnancy crisis.
By Jose S. Sandejas
“Fertility rate down but more mothers dying,” read the headline of a front-page report in the Inquirer (5/2/2014). The facts and figures quoted in the report were substantially correct but the conclusions, sadly, were incorrect because they ignored certain realities. The report cited the apparent increase in the number of Filipino mothers dying during childbirth, and went on to attribute the problem to the country’s total fertility rate (TFR), or the average number of children that each woman is expected to have by the end of her reproductive years.
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that the controversial Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law is “not unconstitutional,” save for eight provisions, what should pro-RH advocates do? There are legal, practical and political next steps to consider, but we think the immediate task is to spread a sense of affirmation: The great majority of Filipinos support the law. Everything else should proceed from that.