THE recent pronouncement made by the Population Commission (PopCom) that the country’s population is expected to reach 100 million this year is just a bluff to pressure the Supreme Court (SC) to rule in favor of the legality of Republic Act (RA) No. 10354, commonly known as the Reproductive Health law, a lawmaker said on Tuesday .
Senate deputy minority leader Vicente Sotto 3rd, at the same time said that even if the claims of PopCom is true there is no reason to be worried because the country’s economic prosperity stands better with a bigger population.
The controversial population control measure which seeks to provide universal access to reproductive health services, including the provision of contraceptives, was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, on December 2012.
But anti-RH campaigners filed a petition against the newly enacted law before the SC which led to the issuance of status quo ante (SQA) order stopping the government from implementing the law.
PopCom recently made a pronouncement that it expects the country’s population to exceed 100 million this year as it calls for the urgent implementation of RH law.
According to PopCom the increasing population in the country means that government, with its limited resources, needs to spend more on social services such as health, education, infrastructure, and livelihood.
But Sotto insisted that the Philippines is still within the ideal growth rate of 2.1 percent and going below that rate cause serious population problem in the future just like other countries who are now suffering from serious population decline after imposing population control measures.
The senator added that pro-RH advocates wanted to pressure the SC to rule in favor of the RH law implementation which he considered as a foreign imposition aimed at depopulating third world countries.
Sotto also sees no need to rush the SC to rule on RH law legality because the government is already implementing it based on the 2014 budget of the Department of Health.
The deputy minority leader disclosed that even if the SC has yet to issue its ruling on the legality of the population control law, the government has allotted more than P2 billion for its implementation this year.
Sotto said despite of the unresolved legality issues of the RH law, the government increased it allocation for RH-related items by 12 percent which is from P2.5 billion in 2013 to P2.8 billion this year.
This include P825.8 million for family planning commodities and supplies; P238.7 for family planning rural health workshops; P993.3 for community health teams mobilization; and P304 million for health-related activities in emergency hospitals.
Sotto noted that despite the absence of RH law, the government has allocated an additional P625 million for the procurement of family planning supplies and P500 million of the amount will be used for the procurement of oral contraceptives.
The senator maintained that 2.1 percent growth rate of the country will be beneficial for the government so long as the government would make good use of it. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA