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Cebu News

Hontiveros hits slashing of P1B in RH law budget

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – Former PhilHealth director Risa Hontiveros will consult with different women and health advocates on what course of action to take after the bicameral committee slashed by P1 billion the budget intended for contraceptives.

“We did not fight for the RH Law just to see it become an unfunded mandate of the government. We will fight for its full implementation for the sake of women and Filipino families,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

According to reports, the bicameral conference committee removed P1 billion allocation for contraceptives in the 2016 budget.

Hontiveros, who is running for senator, said this will limit women and their families’ access to government’s support for family planning and as a result will compromise the RH Law.

“This is wrong. You shouldn’t just scrap the entire budget for family planning and contraceptives. This is a direct attack on the right of women to reproductive health,” Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros said that women from low-income families will be deprived of family planning services, and in reality, these women need the government’s program the most.

Hontiveros said that a monthly packet of birth control pills available over the counter costs more than P200 — around the same price as the daily minimum wage rate outside the National Capital Region.

“Many women do not even earn minimum wage. Requiring women to pay this out of pocket means that there will barely be any money left for the day for the household, or birth control is completely foregone,” said Hontiveros in a statement.

The former legislator also added that the Supreme Court deemed the RH law constitutional, mandating the government its full implementation.

Hontiveros said that the implementation of the RH law will be adversely affected and relying on support from international funding agencies is not sustainable, and removes government’s responsibility to ensure full implementation of the law.

Senator Loren Legarda, in a separate statement, said that the budget cut of P1 billion for the Department of Health’s family health and responsible parenting came after the increase in the budget of other agencies, including that of the Department of National Defense, which was timely and equally important given the West Philippine Sea issue.

Legarda added that part of it was also used for the increase in the state universities and colleges’ budget.

Legarda added that a portion of the P1 billion was realigned within DOH to provide the health facilities and medical assistance to indigent patients.

The decision to cut the allocation for FHRP was done after assessing its possible impact on the program, the senator said.— /FPL (FREEMAN)

ACIRC

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE

HONTIVEROS

LEGARDA

NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION

RISA HONTIVEROS

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA

SUPREME COURT

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

WOMEN

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