POPCOM calls for lifting of TRO on contraceptives

  • March 17, 2017
  • Julius B. Embile

LEGAZPI CITY, March 15 (PIA) – Coinciding with this year's observance of the National Women’s Month this year, the Commission on Population (POPCOM) in Bicol region seeks to promote women’s welfare by calling for the lifting of the "temporary restraining order" (TRO) on the implementation of reproductive health measures, specifically the distribution of contraceptives.

Restriction

In June of 2015, the Supreme Court (SC) issued the TRO that forbids the government from “procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing and administering, advertising and promoting” contraceptive implants.  The TRO is in effect until the high court’s final disposition of an appeal to permanently ban the product for its alleged “abortifacient” side effects.

The petition that resulted in the said TRO was filed by Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc. (ALFI) earlier in 2015. Notably, the TRO deters the Department of Health (DOH) from acquiring and distributing contraceptive products Implanon and Implanon NXT to the public.

Implanon and Implanon NXT are subdermal contraceptives or implants (thin rods inserted under the skin) that prevents pregnancy to up to three years. These contraceptive implants were approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), but the TRO was still issued upon the petitioner’s argument that the implants have “abortifacient character.”

However, since the issuance of the TRO, health and women’s welfare groups have reportedly pleaded with the high court to lift the restriction. They argued that it is against the spirit of the Responsible Parenting and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law of 2012.

In 2016, the DOH asked the SC to lift the TRO but was rejected.

POPCOM’s stand

In a statement released by POPCOM-Bicol earlier this month, the commission has called for the lifting of the TRO on the Implanon and Implanon NXT implants by drawing public support and spearheading a signature campaign on the matter.

The statement also said that the commission was collecting at least one million signatures this March to reinforce their petition in lifting the TRO. POPCOM-Bicol added that, as early as the beginning of March, they had already collected 4,564 signatures in the region alone.

“The impending absence of contraceptives, especially the cheaper ones, will affect maternal mortality in the country. When this happen, it will be a public health emergency,” said POPCOM Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez.

Timing the their drive on the 2017 National Women’s Month, which is centered on the theme “We Make Change Work for Women”, POPCOM stated that this call for the lifting of the TRO is a timely action for women’s empowerment and health welfare, as reinforced by the Magna Carta for Women.

POPCOM’s point refers specifically to the Magna Carta’s provision that guarantees women’s access to education and services, including reproductive health services.The commission further claimed that the TRO has caused delays in the full implementation of the RPRH law, something that reportedly poses adverse effects to the country’s population program.

POPCOM figures reveal more than 13.4 million Filipino women were already affected by the TRO, including 6.1 million who use contraceptives and 7.3 million who need family-planning measures.

“This Women’s Month, no gifts is sweeter for Filipinos, especially for the women who have long believed and fought for the law, than the resolution to lift the TRO on family planning,” Dr. Perez stressed. (EAD/JBE/PIA-5)


Other News

PCSO’s Medical Assistance: A lifeline for 300K Filipinos
  • March 28, 2017
A visit to a corner of the Lung Center of the Philippines complex can be heart-breaking. Patients in various stages of critical illness wait in line to seek medical assistance. Without any capacity to pay for lifesaving and essential treatments, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is their only lifeline. A total of 319,091 Filipinos nationwide became beneficiaries of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)'s medical assistance program under the Duterte administration, a number which the agency expects to significantly increase this 2017, PCSO General Manager Alexan...Read more
DOLE issues implementing rules of new SPES law
  • March 28, 2017
MANILA, March 28 --  Department of Labor and Employment  Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III recently signed the  Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) or Department Order No. 175  of the Republic Act No. 10917 or the amended Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES), to streamline and effectively implement the program.   SPES is one of the Department of Labor and Employment’s youth employment-bridging programs which aims to provide beneficiaries with short-term job opportunities during summer and/or Christmas vacation or any time of the year to help them continue their ed...Read more
SSS eyes mandatory OFW coverage
  • March 28, 2017
QUEZON CITY, March 28 --  State-run Social Security System said it is seeking the help of lawmakers to implement the mandatory coverage of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) following its goal to expand its members’ coverage while providing security protection for the country’s new heroes.   SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc  in a statement said the shift to mandatory OFW coverage is one of the provisions of the proposed charter amendment the pension fund is pushing in the legislative stage.   “Our objective is not just to strengthen enforcement of ...Read more
Upland Farmers attend GAD Empowerment Sessions
  • March 28, 2017
SAN JOSE , Antique (PIA) - - Upland farmers in Barangay Igbucagay, Hamtic recently attended the Gender and Development Empowerment Sessions as they culminated their Farmer’s Field School (FFS) on Corn Production. “Women farmers are as good and diligent as their men counterpart and more than 50 percent of the FFS participants are women, thus GAD empowerment sessions is really apt for them,” said Agricultural Technologist Rylan Mabaquiao of LGU Hamtic. More than the empowerment they learned from the session, it is also an affirmation of their vital role in farming and food security i...Read more