MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order ensuring zero unmet needs for family planning in the country.
This was first revealed by Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial in a Rappler Talk interview on Tuesday, January 10, and later confirmed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
"I even told the Presidential Management Staff, of the 3 [executive orders], I want this one to be prioritized, which is zero unmet needs for family planning," Ubial told Rappler, referring to the EOs her department drafted and submitted to Malacañang.
Medialdea on Tuesday told Rappler that the EO on zero unmet needs for family planning – Executive Order 12 – was released Monday, January 9.
What is the first EO signed by Duterte in 2017 all about?
"It's really implementing the full coverage of all Filipinos to have access to the type and the commodities, contraception that they need to actually realize the family size and the spacing of the children that they want," Ubial explained.
The secretary said the EO ensures that couples or individuals who want to practice family planning are provided the services to do so.
In his first State of the Nation Address, Duterte called for the full implementation of the reproductive health law, which mandates all accredited public health facilities to provide a full range of modern family planning methods.
Ubial also revealed on Tuesday that they are asking Duterte to "encourage" the Supreme Court to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) on implants – a contraceptive that can prevent pregnancies for up to 3 years.
"We're asking the President to actually probably call on the Supreme Court to fast-track the review and maybe also encourage them to lift the TRO if possible because the commodities were already procured in 2015, and implants are in the warehouse of the DOH and will expire by 2018," she added.
Below is a copy of the executive order:
– with reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.