Benguet passes code for reproductive and family health
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The provincial board of Benguet recently passed an ordinance that consolidates the province’s long-standing initiatives promoting family and reproductive health.
Ordinance 17-204 or the Benguet Province Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Code – approved on Thursday, August 24 – will provide Benguet residents with timely, comprehensive, and efficient information and services on RPRH.
The information and services, the provincial board said, will be gender-sensitive, supportive of the sanctity and autonomy of family as a social institution, concerned with human rights, socially responsible, and respecting of religious convictions and culture.
The local law puts in place comprehensive and far-reaching programs on maternal, neonatal, child health, and nutrition; family planning; and adolescent and youth reproductive health guidance and counseling.
It also seeks the elimination of violence against women and children; education and counseling on sexuality and sexual health; proscription of abortion and management of post-abortion complications; prevention and treatment of infertility and sexual dysfunction; and treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynaecological conditions.
It has provisions on male reproductive health and responsibility; mental health aspect of RH care; and on the prevention, treatment, and management of reproductive infections and sexually transmittable diseases.
An initial P3 million is appropriated for the full implementation of the code.
Benguet is the first local government in the country to create a provincial RPRH Council in 2015. It was in response to the passage of the RPRH law at the national level, and even before the national government directed local governments to create provincial implementation teams.
Cordillera, where Benguet is located, is also one of the only two regions in the country to have achieved the Millennium Development Goal target on reducing the rate of maternal and child mortality.
Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso said passing the ordinance authored by Board Member Jim Botiwey will put in place a program of sustainable solutions to reproductive health issues in the province, regardless of changes in the administration.
Pacalso gave assurances of the provincial government’s commitment to fund the code’s implementation.
Botiwey, who also chairs the Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee on health and social services, thanked the governor, the provincial board, and various local offices, as well as national agencies and private organizations for supporting the passage of the Benguet RHPH Code.
“We are so proud because we chose to put importance on health. 30 percent of Benguet's income is spent on health services. That is very big. In Benguet, we choose to cooperate,” Botiwey said. – Rappler.com