RH Law to be Implemented Starting Easter Sunday

By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
8:03 pm | Friday, March 15th, 2013

Health Secretary Enrique Ona. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Calling it a “momentous event” in the history of health care in the country, the Department of Health approved on Friday the implementing rules and regulations of the Reproductive Health Law.

The controversial law’s full implementation begins on Easter Sunday.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the signing of the implementing rules and regulations of the “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law of 2012” was vital in the implementation of the government’s Universal Health Care program to reduce maternal deaths and improve overall reproductive health outcomes.

“The law will empower women, through informed choice and voluntarism, improve access to information, facilities and services, increased stability and sustainability of health policy across national and local government,” Ona said in a statement.

It will “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,” he added.

Pro-life groups have challenged the legality of the law in the Supreme Court while some Catholic dioceses are now actively campaigning against lawmakers who voted for passage of the law.

Health Assistant Secretary Madeleine Valera said the implementing rules will be published in newspapers this weekend and will take effect on March 31, Easter Sunday.

“That was unintended. We really did not see that. We were having a hearing when someone pointed it out and we were like, ‘Oops!’,” Valera said.

She noted that representatives of the government, civil society, and the Church reached a consensus on two issues—including both artificial and natural family planning services in the coverage of PhilHealth and provisions on “conscientious objectors” to the law.

Ona said the rules’ highlights include the enhancement of health service delivery, providing mobile health clinics in remote and depressed areas, improving PhilHealth coverage, hiring and training of skilled health professionals, and the continuous monitoring and review of reproductive health programs.

The DOH conducted public consultations on the draft rules in Davao City, Cebu City, and Manila and these were attended by various civil society organizations, interest groups, health professionals, and the media.

“The IRR is more progressive and comprehensive than the Act itself but within the authorized legal boundaries of the law,” Valera said.

“This is just the beginning of our continuing effort to ensure that no woman will die while giving life,” Ona added.

Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/374263/rh-law-to-be-implemented-starting-easter-sunday


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