Halting RH law ‘an elections tactic’

A WOMEN’S group criticized the Supreme Court (SC) order stopping the implementation of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law.

Gabriela secretary general for Northern Mindanao Rhodura Bulosan said the SC’s decision will derail the delivery of basic services for the women.

She said this is a political maneuver of President Benigno Aquino III to win the support of the Roman Catholic Church in the elections.

“Dala pamulitika lang kini aron makuha ni PNoy ang suporta balik sa simbahan kay dako man nga alyado ang simbahan,” Bulosan told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

Theodore Te, SC public information officer, announced Tuesday that magistrates voted 10-5 in issuing a status quo against the implementation of the RH law signed by President Aquino last December.

In a report, Te said the SC en banc issued a 120-day status quo order in the consolidated cases involving Republic Act 10354, or the Reproductive Health Act of 2012.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Marvic Leonen were the five who opposed the decision.

Sereno, Perlas-Bernabe, and Leonen are Aquino appointees to the High Court.

Oral arguments on the consolidated cases against the law have been set on June 18 by the justices sitting en banc.

Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma said the Church should strengthen its campaign to educate couples and push forward the national family planning (NFP) program to prevent the widespread promotion of contraceptives.

“While we continue to say no to the widespread promotion of contraceptives, we are all the more challenged to push forward our All-Natural Family Planning program,” Ledesma said in an article posted at Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines website, adding that even media surveys indicate that most couples prefer the natural family planning.

Ledesma has been active in the promotion of natural family planning since his stint as the bishop of the Prelature of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay.

The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro has been strongly promoting the natural family planning, has already gained support from the different parishes in the city.

The law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) was signed on March 15, 2013.

Mandated under the IRR are improved access to family planning services such as health service delivery, provision of mobile health clinics in remote and depressed areas, improvement of coverage of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on reproductive health services for the poor, hiring and training of skilled health professionals and continuous monitoring and review of reproductive health programs.

Health secretary Enrique Ona said in a report that the RH law will empower women through informed choice and voluntarism.

“They (women) will also have improve access to information, facilities and services, increased stability and sustainability of health policy across national and local government; institutionalize the partnerships between national and local governments; and recognize the important roles and contribution of civil society organizations, basic sectors, academe and private sector,” Ona said.

The highly divisive bill was earlier scheduled to be fully implemented on Easter Sunday, which Filipinos called “Pasko ng Pagkabuhay.”
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