Government needs money to implement programs that will address people’s needs. If it wants, this administration is able to immediately release billions of pesos to finance its pet programs like the P500.00 monthly dole-outs and electricity consumption assistance aimed at alleviating the suffering of the poor in this time of crisis.
“At the heart of the raging debate on the reproductive health (RH) bill is the question of budgets. The passage of this bill will mean budgetary allocation for the comprehensive information and services an RH law will provide that includes family planning.
What is unknown to many is the fact that even as the RH bill remains pending, Congress, through R.A. 9401 as reenacted (GAA 2007) has already allocated P180 M for the implementation of a program on artificial family planning by the /department of health (DOH) . Our legislators have acted in favor of the millions of couples who needs this programs” says Beth Angsioco, National chair of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) and Secretary General of the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN).
“ records show that the Department of budget and management (DBM) may have already released the P180M to the DOH early this year. This money is supposed to be used by local government units (LGUs). If indeed the money is already with the DOH, we know that the DOH has yet to make any release to any LGU for the program. The questions now are: where is the P180M for the family planning program? Why hasn’t the DOH started implementing this program? What’s holding the DOH back? Angsioco asks.
“In the meantime, DOH’ dilly-dally on this program contributes to the worsening RH problems particularly faced by poor women. 10 Filipino women continue to die daily due to pregnancy and /or childbirth-related causes. The big majority of those who die are poor women. Maternal mortality is a serious problem and the DOH knows this very well. It has the program, it has the money, so why isn’t it doing as if it should?” the DSWP chairs continues.
“ It should be noted that certain members of the Arroyo administration have made public their support for the RH bill. We commend DSWD Secretary Cabral and Albay Governor Joey Salceda for transcending political affiliations to respond to the urgent need for the passage of this bill.”
“ We strong urge DOH Secretary Duque to do the same and immediately start implementing the artificial family planning program his Department is mandated to do . we also call on the Local Chief Executives especially of those LGU which have passed their RH ordinances like Aurora, Sulu, Olongapo City, Quezon City and most recently, LaNO DEL Sur, Angeles City and Antipolo City to put to task DOH so that their RH programs can be funded.
“ The P180 M is people’s money. People should benefit from it through the program the money is meant for” Angsioco Ended.