Palace seeks P2.5 B budget for ‘responsible parenting’

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 .