With or without a reproductive health law, the government will implement a P2.54 billion “family health and responsible parenting” program next year, Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III revealed today.
Tañada said funding for the program is contained in the P2.006 trillion 2013 national budget President Aquino had sent to Congress last week.
The House leader explained that the P2.54 billion is included in the Department of Health’s (DOH) proposed expenditures of P56 billion for 2013.
He said the funding for “family health and responsible parenting” is “not in any way connected with the aggressive push for the ‘RH bill‘ in Congress as it is an institutional project of the DOH.”
“In fact, the same program is being implemented this year with the same funding level. You can clearly see that there is no augmentation in anticipation of the RH bill’s passage. In short, we are not putting the funding-cart before the statutory law- horse,” Tañada said.
Tañada belied allegations that the fund will be used for an “abortion tools buying spree.”
“First, abortion is illegal and will remain so even if a reproductive health or responsible parenthood law is signed. Second, the Department of Health’s menu of activities under family health does not center on birth control but on the promotion of the well-being of the family,” Tañada said.
“From the macro level, the amount represents about four percent of the total health budget. In fact, the question here is not on any ‘over-budgeting’ for this activity but the underspending for it, “ he said.
Tañada said there are other notable activities in the health budget including the planned increase in number of indigent Philhealth beneficiaries. The health budget also includes P13.6 billion for “health facilities enhancement program.” This covers the upgrade of services in the country’s 2,243 rural health units and some 62 government hospitals .