The Aquino administration has proposed a P3.3-billion budget for the implementation of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law.
This was contained in the proposed P2.606-trillion budget submitted by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to Congress on Wednesday.
The RH Law—which mandates the state to provide natural and artificial family planning services to families, including condoms, pills and intrauterine devices, was signed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in December 2012 after gathering dust in Congress for 14 years.
The legality of the RH Law was promptly challenged at the Supreme Court by Catholic groups that view the measure as a policy that promotes promiscuity.
The P3.3-billion budget will cover the acquisition of Vitamin A supplements to be given to children under five years of age. Part of the fund will be used to ensure that family planning commodities are made available to women.
Former Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay, who led the defense of the RH bill’s passage in the House of Representatives during the 15th Congress, noted that the country’s 100 million population highlights the critical immediacy of fully implementing the RH Law since increased population imperils finite resources and strains limited budgets.
Aside from the P3.3-billion budget for the RH Law, the Aquino administration also earmarked P3.3 billion for the immunization of 2.2 million children, as well as pneumococcal vaccines to 1.4 million senior citizens and 42,900 infants.
The proposed 2015 budget allocated P13.1 billion allocation for Health Facilities Enhancement Program, which will upgrade 1,242 barangay (village) health stations, 587 rural health units/city health centers, 128 LGU (local government unit) hospitals and 11 treatment and rehabilitation centers and the deployment of 398 doctors, 480 dentists, 12,540 nurses and 5,749 midwives nationwide.