RH law ‘vital’ to achieve universal health care-A A +A
Monday, August 13, 2012
HEALTH Secretary Enrique Ona appealed to Congress on Monday to pass the reproductive health (RH) bill to help the government fulfill its universal health care program.
Speaking before members of the House committee on appropriations, Ona said the passage of the responsible parenthood measure, also known as the controversial RH bill, is among the DOH's proposed priority legislation.
"This will provide modern family planning services for those who are really in need of it and are unable to acquire it on their own," Ona explained.
The DOH is also supporting the approval of the restructured "sin tax" system, and amendments to the National Health Insurance Act, and to selected laws governing the practice of health professionals.
The House of Representatives has already approved adjustments to taxes on liquor and cigarettes. Its counterpart bill in the Senate, however, is still pending before the committee level.
Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay, who is against the RH measure, pointed out that the provisions proposed in the controversial bill are already provided for in Republic Act (RA) 9170 or the Magna Carta for Women.
RA 9170 provides that the state shall ensure access to maternal care services, responsible methods of family planning, and prevention of abortion and management of pregnancy-related complications, among others.
"Even without RH passed into law, the government is already implementing family planning," Magsaysay, a member of the House opposition bloc, said.
Ona disagreed with Magsaysay, saying that the magna carta is simply "not enough."
"We should make sure that all our people, especially the poor, are given all the information how they would like to space and how many children they want to have," the DOH chief said.
"If they are very, very poor because most of them are, we would give them the necessary commodities, whether natural or artificial," he added.
With or without an RH law, the DOH has allocated P2.54 billion for the government's "family health and responsible parenting" program for 2013.
In the National Expenditure Program, the breakdown of the P2.54 billion will be as follows: Central Office (259.43 million), National Capital Region (144.63 million), Ilocos Region (122.46 million), Cordillera Administrative Region (46.3 million), Cagayan Valley (56.95 million), Central Luzon (161 million), Calabarzon (182.69 million), Mimaropa (103.45 million), and Bicol Region (202.2 million).
Western Visayas meanwhile will receive 182.69 million, Central Visayas (160.4 million), Eastern Visayas (158.83 million), Zamboanga Peninsula (158.82 million), Northern Mindanao (145.64 million), Davao Region (120.17 million), Soccsksargen (125.41 million), Caraga Region (85.79 million), and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (122.58 million). (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)