When President Duterte took office, one of this first promises that belongs to his priority is that he would support the full implementation of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law. He said that he knew the need to provide women and girls with the right to control their fertility, and he rebuked the Catholic Church for their meddling in government policy. The RH bill underwent a lot of criticisms, most especially with the Catholic church. This made the Supreme Court issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the said bill.
Just recently President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order providing funds and support for a modernized family planning, in a bid to make modern family planning available to the poor by 2018. On an Executive Order No. 12, signed by Duterte on January 9 and released on Wednesday says “this Order aims to intensify and accelerate the implementation of critical actions necessary to attain and sustain ‘zero unmet need for modern family planning’ for all poor households by 2018.”
Since being signed into law by Pres. Aquino in 2012, the RH Bill has suffered from setbacks such as defunding and a Supreme Court TRO on the clause about contraceptives. Pres. Duterte’s new EO gave instructions to the budget committee to “realign and augment appropriations” so the RH Bill can be positioned to “attain and sustain the zero unmet need for ‘modern family planning’ by 2018 for poor families.” Aside from contraceptives, the RH Bill also rules the universal availability of sex education and the accessibility of maternal care.
On the other hand the Catholic Bishops reacted on the sudden amendment of the said law and gave their stand on it. According to them, President Rodrigo Duterte should take into considerations and respect the TRO on contraceptives as the said ruling “aims to respect for human life even from its beginning in the womb of the mother.”