Lagman to new administration: ‘Prioritize reproductive health’
By Mavic Conde
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman urged the incoming administration to provide adequate funding for reproductive health, following the recent report of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that 51 percent of pregnancies in the Philippines were unintended.
To do so, according to Lagman, is to support the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act or RA No. 10354, a landmark law enacted 10 years ago whose principal author is Lagman.
“It is urgent to provide adequate and consistent funding for its speedy and efficient implementation,” Lagman said.
In the news release, Lagman compared the budget for RH and infrastructure projects from 2013 (first year of implementation of the RH Law) to 2022. From P2.5 billion, the budget for reproductive health has dwindled to P842 million in 2022, while the budget for mega infrastructure projects, with lesser beneficiaries and longer periods for return of investment, have soared to multi-billion pesos, the news release reads.
Lagman asserted that the full and expeditious implementation of the RA No. 10354 is “the least expensive mode of helping attain sustainable human development.”
The RH law, according to Lagman, “affords women and couples to freely exercise their inherent right to determine the number and spacing of their children,” adding the law mandates the State to provide reproductive health services and supplies for free to marginalized communities.
Citing a study by the Philippine NGO Likhaan Center for Women’s Health in partnership with the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, the news release emphasized that “For every peso spent on family planning, around 3 to 100 pesos will be saved for maternal care costs for unintended pregnancies.”
Lagman’s news release likewise recognized that the Department of Health (DOH) is aware of the cost efficiency of investing in reproductive health and family planning.
“A reduction in the actual number of births reduces the need for obstetrical care, immunization and other maternal and child health interventions,” the news release reads, citing the 2005 National Objectives for Health.