Philippine President Signs Executive Order to Give Free Birth Control For 6 Million Women

President Rodrigo Duterte is forcing the Supreme Court’s hand by signing an Executive Order that aims to lift the contraceptives ban in the Philippines.

The Supreme Court has placed a temporary restraining order from distributing free contraceptives that supports the Reproductive Health Law. Anti-abortion groups have strongly opposed the use of contraceptives which they viewed as a form of abortion.

However, the present government has appealed to lift the ban stating that the SC continues to listen to the “small, noisy minority” who discredits the RH Law. But Duterte, strong willed and tenacious as many people know, disregarded the TRO (temporary restraining order) by signing an EO (executive order).

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According to Business Mirror, the EO aims to “allow national and local government, as well as non-governmental organizations, the private sector and even donor-agencies, to fully implement the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) law by providing support and funding for it.”

The Philippines’ Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said that making sure contraceptives are available and families are oriented are ways to reduce poverty in the Philippines.

“The government cannot continue to tolerate this delay in judgment because time is of the essence as far as the implementation of the RPRH Law is concerned,” Pernia added.

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Meanwhile, Population Commission Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III said that with the EO in place and if the SC lifts their ban, it will hopefully help 2 million women in need of contraceptive in the next two years. The number is expected to increase by 6 million by 2022.

Although Duterte’s executive order does not necessarily dismiss the SC’s restraining order, it does allow the government to make plans like mapping out women in need of contraceptive methods or conduct house-to-house calls to raise awareness regarding proper family-planning.

In the Philippines, there is a 1.7% annual population growth rate. But with appropriate implementation of the Reproductive Health Law, the rate is predicted to go down 1.4% every year.

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“What the President was saying is to urge or to encourage families not to have more children than they can afford to take care of and provide for such that the children would really be able to achieve their full potential,” Pernia noted.

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