THE Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday called on the justices of the Supreme Court (SC) to rule as constitutional the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Law that has been long pending before them.
Health Undersecretary Janette Garin said that it is high time that the High Court should decide on the constitutionality of RH Law amid the continuous increase in the country’s population and the devastation brought by calamities.
“People especially the poor who were hit by the calamities were having difficulty in recovering because they have large family members to feed and to take care,” she told the Bulong Pulungan news forum.
In stressing her appeal, Garin said it is only the SC justices who can help in order for the effects of economic reforms being pushed by the government be felt by the less privileged members of the society.
“The justices are the missing links in getting the totality of the effect of economic reforms to trickle down to poor families. That’s why we are patiently appealing them to declare RH law as legal,” she added.
Without the RH law, Garin explained, incidence of poverty as fueled by constant population growth will exist.
She also lamented that due to the temporary restraining order (TRO) against the law issued by the SC, the family planning programs of the government is vulnerable to politicking.
Garin, who was a co-sponsor of the RH bill when she was a lawmaker, cited the move by Congress to pull out P304 million from the proposed national budget for this year allocated for the purchase of contraceptives.
Because of the Congress’ action, Garin said they have to look for donors in order to provide contraceptives to couples who wanted to use them.
She further explained that the law will have regular appropriations that will be immune of politicking and personal biasses allowing the program to be implemented.
“Without the RH law, we are now subject to political will because Congress can easily remove the budget allotted for family planning,” she added.
The SC in July last year, decided to extend indefinitely its status quo ante order (SQAO) effectively blocking the implementation of the law.
Garin, a doctor by profession, expressed belief that SC justices will consider their appeal saying that they will be the key in addressing poverty in the country.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO