January 9, 2017—President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Executive Order (EO) No. 12 on Attaining and Sustaining “Zero Unmet Need for Family Planning” through the strict implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act. This long fought full implementation of the law has been the battle cry of the Department of Health (DOH), Commission on Population (POPCOM) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for the longest years.
With the signing of the EO, all mechanisms and strategies for the attainment of a full range access for modern family planning (FP) methods will be intensified and accelerated especially among the poor households by 2018, more if the Implant’s TRO (a subdermal family planning contraceptive) will also be lifted by the Supreme Court.
As included in the Administration’s 0+10 point socio-economic agenda, this order enables the poor Filipino couples to make informed choices on financial and family planning services and to fully exercise their reproductive rights. It also ensures universal access to sexual and reproductive health care, information, services and rights under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, thus, providing directives to POPCOM and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to further strengthen the FP services.
In 2013, there were about six (6) million women with unmet need for family planning, according to the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). This hampers our desire to sustain an equitable life against poverty and inequality if the trend has to continue. Unmet Need for Family Planning as defined in the EO is the women and couples who are fecund and sexually active and want to limit or space their children but are not using any modern method of contraception.
Health workers are mobilized to conduct intensive community-based demand generation and referral activities and ensure the provision of quality modern FP information and services within the principle of informed choice and volunteerism (ICV). “ Pag pumili sila, wag mo na antayin isa or dalawang buwan, dalhin mo na yung doctor or nurse para mabigay ang serbisyo,” POPCOM Executive Director Juan Antonio A. Perez, III said.
Other national government agencies namely: Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Youth Commission (NYC), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHILHEALTH), are directed to implement their mandates in support to this EO.
Together, we achieve happy, healthy and empowered Filipino families. (by: Maria Cristina F. Martinez)