MALACAÑANG on Saturday defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s executive order (EO) that aims to fully implement the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RP/RH) Law, calling on critics to keep an open mind.
“We need to be able to be more responsible even with our faith. We need to feed our family, right?” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in comments apparently aimed at pro-life groups.
Certain sectors of society should “evolve” in their thinking and think broadly, instead of sticking to “ideology,” Abella told government-run radio station dzRB.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the government wants to collaborate with the United Nations (UN) and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) in implementing the EO.
Andanar issued the statement as he welcomed the UN Population Fund’s praise of Duterte’s EO 12 seeking to achieve “zero unmet need for family planning.”
“We hope that with this order, we will have stronger collaboration with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and international bodies like the United Nations Population Fund, to implement quality modern family planning information and services,” he said in a statement.
Andanar said the President signed the EO to ensure that the government fulfills the needs of families for family planning.
“Reproductive health forms part of President Duterte’s 10 point socioeconomic agenda. To have a marked reduction of poverty incidence, the President’s economic managers believe that we must have strong economic growth and fast-track the generation of millions of jobs in the next six years, complemented by the full implementation of RH Law,” he said.
UN Population Fund country representative Klaus Beck has lauded Duterte, saying his order was a “major push” for the government’s family planning program.
“The full and immediate implementation of RP/RH Law is critically important for the government to deliver on its family planning program, which has been identified by President Duterte as one of his priorities when he assumed office,” Beck said.
EO 12, signed by the President on January 9, allows the government to find couples and individuals who want “modern family planning,” put up local structures that will generate demand and referrals, and integrate RP/RH strategies into social protection and family planning programs.
Parts of the RP/RH Law, Republic Act 10354, particularly on the certification of some artificial contraceptives, are subject of a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court at the request of pro-life groups.