Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370
26 February 2010

Rep. Edcel C. Lagman said that he and his fellow reproductive health advocates in Congress unequivocally laud and fully support the initiative of Health Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral for government to “give contraceptive pills to interested couples.”

Lagman, the principal author of House Bill No. 5043 on Reproductive Health and Population Development, stressed that the plan of Cabral is consistent with the freedom of informed choice on which the RH bill is firmly anchored.

The RH bill provides that the State upholds and promotes the right to informed choice and that “the freedom of informed choice, which is central to the exercise of any right, must be fully guaranteed by the State.”

The Bicol solon also clarified that the initiative of Cabral will counterbalance the present flawed policy of the Commission on Population to promote only natural family planning methods even though only 27% of women acceptors employ NFP and traditional methods combined, compared to the 73% who use modern methods according to the National Statistics Office’s (NSO) Family Planning Survey 2006.

The NSO’s 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) also shows that a total of 73% of married women have a demand for family planning but only 51% of this demand is met. The country’s unmet need for family planning has been steadily rising from 17% in the 2003 NDHS to 22% in the latest 2008 NDHS.

According to Lagman, this data is instructive because its shows that more women are now aware that they have the right to plan and space their children and are demanding that they be given the opportunity to fully exercise this right.

Lagman also said that under the bill government has to two principal responsibilities: (1) promoting a massive nationwide information campaign on the import and need for reproductive health and family planning and; (2) giving access to reproductive health supplies and services to acceptors without bias for or against natural or modern family planning methods.

Lagman likewise urged the leadership of the Department of Health to use a sizeable portion of the Department’s current P1.4 billion appropriation for family health and family planning to address the demands of couples and women for reproductive health supplies and services.