WHO cites need for Phl family planning policy

Published by rudy Date posted on May 8, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is important for the Philippines to have a legislated policy on family planning to make the program sustainable.

WHO country representative Dr. So Nyunt-U said family planning is an “essential element of (economic) development.”

“The Philippines will not maximize or will not achieve its potential in socio-economic development without having a very clear policy on reproductive health,” he said.

He noted that without legislation, the government’s family planning programs would be dependent on who runs the government.

“I think you would like to see population policy, reproductive health policy, family planning policy and succeeding plans to be sustainable over a long period of time,” he said.

“What happens is that under one administration you might have things done and in another administration, things might stop…If there is a legislated framework agreed upon, it does not change in a sustainable way,” he added.

So said laws on family planning would primarily benefit poor women who do not want to have children anymore but do not know how to prevent it.

“I’m a pro-life and a pro-choice person. I don’t want to see women going into abortion to terminate the pregnancy. That’s very terrible for women to suffer,” he added.

Dialogue ongoing

The administration is still engaged in a dialogue with the Catholic Church on the Reproductive Health bill.

President Aquino had made it known that he supports the passage of a responsible parenthood bill but the Catholic Church staunchly opposes it.

Palace Communications Group Secretary Herminio   Coloma said the President still hopes there would be a common ground reached in the dialogue.

“We are both finding grounds for an agreement. These (exercises) open up minds and lead us to decide knowledgeably on the issue,” he said.

Not a priority

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the bill will not be among the priority measures to be taken up by the Senate when it resumes session tomorrow.

Sotto has consistently opposed the passage of the bill, believing there is no need for it because its provisions are already being implemented by the Department of Health.

He said the government should just enhance its existing program on family planning instead of passing a new law. The Senate, he said, will tackle the measures discussed in the meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council which includes the proposed anti-trust law and other bills on the economy. –-Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) with Artemio Dumlao, Marvin Sy

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