Reproductive health law takes effect in Benguet

THE REPRODUCTIVE Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) law is now in full effect in the province of Benguet.

The law provides 12 elements which aim to give public access to natural and artificial planning options, maternal care and youth education on sexual reproductive health.

For this year, an initial P3 million will be allocated for the implementation of the programs.

"We will implement RPRH in the province of Benguet for the satisfaction of our constituents," said Governor Crescencio Pacalso following the oathtaking of members of the roles of RPRH council members in the province.

Pacalso said they are set to layout doable plans to implement the ordinance with the assistance of the Municipal Health Offices.

Following the RPRH law implementation, the Benguet RPRH council will be formed to coordinate the actions of department and agencies implementing the law.

The council is responsible in putting in place a program of sustainable solutions to reproductive health issues in the province, regardless of changes in the administration and set up a system to monitor the implementation and impact of the law and provide regular quarterly reports.

Provincial Board member and proponent Jim Botiwey said despite several sectors opposing the law, receptiveness of the 13 municipalities in the province remain.

Philippine Legislators Committee on Population Development reported as of October 2017, provinces which enacted RH laws include Mountain Province, Ifugao and Benguet while municipalities crafting their own ordinance are Lagawe and Asipulo in Ifugao, and Paracelis and Bontoc in Mt. Province.

Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin said the law continues to be challenged across all branches of the government and at all levels of the government.

"We have all rallied forward every measure of improving the RH situation in the country. But we know that this issue is deeply multifaceted in its core," Villarin said.

Villarin added there are several policies and legislation that needs to keep a careful eye on, particularly the rate of teenage pregnancy.

"The lack of access of minors to critical information and services on RH has contributed to the spike in teenage pregnancies in the past decade."

The RPRH law was signed in 2012 under the previous watch of former President Benigno Aquino. Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the temporary restraining order of the Supreme Court questioning the use of 51 contraceptives.

For 2018, RPRH Law implementation entails total of P3.64 billion budget in the country with a decrease of 15 percent from the P4.27 billion in the previous year.
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