The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday joined calls for lifting a temporary restraining order (TRO) on contraceptives during the first Family Planning Conference in Quezon City.
The DOH, together with the Commission on Population (Popcom) and the Forum for Family Planning and Development Inc., hopes to collect one million signatures as an initiative against the TRO that is considered anti-women and anti-poor.
The TRO issued by the Supreme Court (SC) prohibits promotion, distribution and marketing of contraceptives.
The order is seen preventing a third of women in a relationship in the country to practice family planning through using contraceptives, Juan Antonio Perez 3rd, executive director of Popcom, said.
The National Demographic and Health Survey in 2013 showed 81 percent of women of reproductive age want to delay their pregnancies or prevent getting pregnant, yet 18 percent of them are not using contraceptives.
Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said in a message read by Dr. Francia Laxamana, DOH assistant secretary, that the SC needs to understand that the health of Filipinos especially women is the focus of the provisions of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law.
Former President Fidel Ramos shared his insights about family planning and his experience during his presidency.
President Rodrigo Duterte also showed his support through a message, saying he hopes the conference attendees will ‘”gain deeper understanding of the importance and advantages of family planning so that they, too, may help formulate viable actions to accelerate progress in our agenda of reform including population control and poverty reduction.”