The leadership of the House of Representatives has set August 7 as the date for their final determination on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill after a caucus attended by both advocates and critics of the measure.
The RH bill, formally known as House Bill 4244, was identified by President Benigno S. Aquino III as a priority legislation. It endorses the use of both natural and artificial modes of family planning. The bill is being opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, which promotes only natural family planning methods.
“We have already set August 7, at which time a motion to terminate the debate will be made. At least we gave both sides time to marshal their people,” says House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II.
He added that anti-RH bill lawmakers wanted to continue debates on the measure. But House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. was determined to push for a vote to terminate the period of interpellation.
“The mere fact that we have been debating this for more than one-and-a-half years, the mere fact that a House member is allowed to interpellate for more than three hours, by what stretch of the imagination can you say that this was railroaded?” Gonzales said.
The House majority leader said the vote on the RH bill two weeks from now “will be an indication of the stand of the members.”
Please read this Legal Primer on the Reproductive Health Bill by the UP College of Law to gain more understanding.
There is also a site aggregating verifiable RH-related facts: RH Facts
Show support here.
View the Wikipedia entry here.
Reproductive Health Bill Text
SEC. 1. Title
This Act shall be known as the “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011.”
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy
The State recognizes and guarantees the exercise of the universal basic human right to reproductive health by all persons, particularly of parents, couples and women, consistent with their religious convictions, cultural beliefs and the demands of responsible parenthood. Toward this end, there shall be no discrimination against any person on grounds of sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, political affiliation and ethnicity.
Moreover, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment as a health and human rights concern. The advancement and protection of women’s human rights shall be central to the efforts of the State to address reproductive health care. As a distinct but inseparable measure to the guarantee of women’s rights, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of the welfare and rights of children.
The State likewise guarantees universal access to medically-safe, legal, affordable, effective and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information and education thereon even as it prioritizes the needs of women and children, among other underprivileged sectors.
The State shall eradicate discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of reproductive health rights.
SEC. 3. Guiding Principles
The following principles constitute the framework upon which this Act is anchored:
- Freedom of choice, which is central to the exercise of right, must be fully guaranteed by the State;
- Respect for, protection and fulfillment of reproductive health and rights seek to promote the rights and welfare of couples, adult individuals, women and adolescents;
- Since human resource is among the principal asset of the country, maternal health, safe delivery of healthy children and their full human development and responsible parenting must be ensured through effective reproductive health care;
- The provision of medically safe, legal, accessible, affordable and effective reproductive health care services and supplies is essential in the promotion of people’s right to health, especially of the poor and marginalized;
- The State shall promote, without bias, all effective natural and modern methods of family planning that are medically safe and legal;
- The State shall promote programs that: (1) enable couples, individuals and women to have the number and spacing of children and reproductive spacing they desire with due consideration to the health of women and resources available to them; (2) achieve equitable allocation and utilization of resources; (3) ensure effective partnership among the national government, local government units and the private sector in the design, implementation, coordination, integration, monitoring and evaluation of people-centered programs to enhance quality of life and environmental protection; (4) conduct studies to analyze demographic trends towards sustainable human development and (5) conduct scientific studies to determine safety and efficacy of alternative medicines and methods for reproductive health care development;
- The provision of reproductive health information, care and supplies shall be the joint responsibility of the National Government and the Local Government Units (LGUs);
- Active participation by non-government, women’s, people’s, civil society organizations and communities is crucial to ensure that reproductive health and population and development policies, plans, and programs will address the priority needs of the poor, especially women;
- While this Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner;
- There shall be no demographic or population targets and the mitigation of the population growth rate is incidental to the promotion of reproductive health and sustainable human development;
- Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of reproductive health and population and development;
- The limited resources of the country cannot be suffered to be spread so thinly to service a burgeoning multitude making allocations grossly inadequate and effectively meaningless;
- Development is a multi-faceted process that calls for the coordination and integration of policies, plans, programs and projects that seek to uplift the quality of life of the people, more particularly the poor, the needy and the marginalized; and
- That a comprehensive reproductive health program addresses the needs of people throughout their life cycle.
SEC. 4. Definition of Terms
For the purposes of this Act, the following terms shall be defined as follows:
Adolescence refers to the period of physical and physiological development of an individual from the onset of puberty to complete growth and maturity which usually begins between eleven (11) to thirteen (13) years and terminating at eighteen (18) to twenty (20) years of age;
Adolescent Sexuality refers to, among others, the reproductive system, gender identity, values and beliefs, emotions, relationships and sexual behavior at adolescence;
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) refers to a condition characterized by a combination of signs and symptoms, caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which attacks and weakens the body’s immune system, making the afflicted individual susceptible to other life-threatening infections;
Anti-Retroviral Medicines (ARVs) refer to medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV;
Basic Emergency Obstetric Care refers to lifesaving services for maternal complications being provided by a health facility or professional, which must include the following six signal functions: administration of parenteral antibiotics; administration of parenteral oxytocic drugs; administration of parenteral anticonvulsants for pre-eclampsia and eclampsia; manual removal of placenta; removal of retained products; and assisted vaginal delivery;
Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care refers to basic emergency obstetric care including deliveries by surgical procedure (caesarian section) and blood transfusion;
Employer refers to any natural or juridical person who hires the services of a worker. The term shall not include any labor organization or any of its officers or agents except when acting as an employer;
Family Planning refers to a program which enables couples, individuals and women to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children, acquire relevant information on reproductive health care, services and supplies and have access to a full range of safe, legal, affordable, effective natural and modern methods of limiting and spacing pregnancy;
Gender Equality refers to the absence of discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in opportunities, allocation of resources or benefits and access to services;
Gender Equity refers to fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men, and often requires women-specific projects and programs to end existing inequalities;
Healthcare Service Provider refers to (1) health care institution, which is duly licensed and accredited and devoted primarily to the maintenance and operation of facilities for health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals suffering from illness, disease, injury, disability or deformity, or in need of obstetrical or other medical and nursing care; (2) a health care professional, who is a doctor of medicine, a nurse, or a midwife; (3) public health worker engaged in the delivery of health care services; and (4) barangay health worker who has undergone training programs under any accredited government and non-government organization and who voluntarily renders primarily health care services in the community after having been accredited to function as such by the local health board in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH);
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) refers to the virus which causes AIDS;
Male Responsibility refers to the involvement, commitment, accountability, and responsibility of males in relation to women in all areas of sexual and reproductive health as well as the protection and promotion of reproductive health concerns specific to men;
Maternal Death Review refers to a qualitative and in-depth study of the causes of maternal death with the primary purpose of preventing future deaths through changes or additions to programs, plans and policies;
Modern Methods of Family Planning refer to safe, effective and legal methods, whether the natural, or the artificial that are registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the DOH, to prevent pregnancy;
People Living with HIV (PLWH) refer to individuals who have been tested and found to be infected with HIV;
Poor refers to members of households identified as poor through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or any subsequent system used by the national government in identifying the poor.
Population and Development refers to a program that aims to: (1) help couples and parents achieve their desired family size; (2) improve reproductive health of individuals by addressing reproductive health problems; (3) contribute to decreased maternal and infant mortality rates and early child mortality; (4) reduce incidence of teenage pregnancy; and (5) recognize the linkage between population and sustainable human development;
Reproductive Health refers to the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes;
Reproductive Health Care refers to the access to a full range of methods, facilities, services and supplies that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by preventing and solving reproductive health-related problems. It also includes sexual health, the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations. The elements of reproductive health care include the following:
- (a) family planning information and services;
- (b) maternal, infant and child health and nutrition, including breastfeeding;
- (c) proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications;
- (d) adolescent and youth reproductive health;
- (e) prevention and management of reproductive tract infections (RTIs), HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmittable infections (STIs);
- (f) elimination of violence against women;
- (g) education and counseling on sexuality and reproductive health;
- (h) treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynecological conditions and disorders;
- (i) male responsibility and participation in reproductive health;
- (j) prevention and treatment of infertility and sexual dysfunction;
- (k) reproductive health education for the adolescents; and
- (l) mental health aspect of reproductive health care.
Reproductive Health Care Program refers to the systematic and integrated provision of reproductive health care to all citizens especially the poor, marginalized and those in vulnerable and crisis situations;
Reproductive Health Rights refer to the rights of couples, individuals and women to decide freely and responsibly whether or not to have children; to determine the number, spacing and timing of their children; to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence; to have relevant information; and to attain the highest condition of sexual and reproductive health;
Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education refers to a lifelong learning process of providing and acquiring complete, accurate and relevant information and education on reproductive health and sexuality through life skills education and other approaches;
Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) refers to sexually transmitted infections, and other types of infections affecting the reproductive system;
Responsible Parenthood refers to the will, ability and commitment of parents to adequately respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children by responsibly and freely exercising their reproductive health rights;
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) refers to any infection that may be acquired or passed on through sexual contact;
Skilled Attendant refers to an accredited health professional, such as midwife, doctor or nurse, who has been educated and trained in the skills needed to manage normal (uncomplicated) pregnancies, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complications in women and newborns, to exclude traditional birth attendant or midwife (hilot), whether trained or not;
Skilled Birth Attendance refers to childbirth managed by a skilled attendant including the enabling conditions of necessary equipment and support of a functioning health system, and the transport and referral facilities for emergency obstetric care; and
Sustainable Human Development refers to bringing people, particularly the poor and vulnerable, to the center of development process, the central purpose of which is the creation of an enabling environment in which all can enjoy long, healthy and productive lives, and done in a manner that promotes their rights and protects the life opportunities of future generations and the natural ecosystem on which all life depends.
SEC. 5. Midwives for Skilled Attendance
The Local Government Units (LGUs) with the assistance of the DOH, shall employ an adequate number of midwives through regular employment or service contracting, subject to the provisions of the Local Government Code, to achieve a minimum ratio of one (1) fulltime skilled birth attendant for every one hundred fifty (150) deliveries per year, to be based on the annual number of actual deliveries or live births for the past two (2) years; Provided, That people in geographically isolated and depressed areas shall be provided the same level of access.
SEC. 6. Emergency Obstetric Care
Each province and city, with the assistance of the DOH, shall establish or upgrade hospitals with adequate and qualified personnel, equipment and supplies to be able to provide emergency obstetric and neonatal care. For every 500,000 population, there shall be at least one (1) hospital with comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care and four (4) hospitals or other health facilities with basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care; Provided, That people in geographically isolated and depressed areas shall be provided the same level of access.
SEC. 7. Access to Family Planning
All accredited health facilities shall provide a full range of modern family planning methods, except in specialty hospitals which may render such services on an optional basis. For poor patients, such services shall be fully covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and/or government financial assistance on a no balance billing.
After the use of any PhilHealth benefit involving childbirth and all other pregnancy-related services, if the beneficiary wishes to space or prevent her next pregnancy, PhilHealth shall pay for the full cost of family planning.
SEC. 8. Maternal and Newborn Health Care in Crisis Situations
The LGUs and the DOH shall ensure that a Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for reproductive health, including maternal and neonatal health care kits and services as defined by the DOH, will be given proper attention in crisis situations such as disasters and humanitarian crises. MISP shall become part of all responses by national agencies at the onset of crisis and emergencies.
Temporary facilities such as evacuation centers and refugee camps shall be equipped to respond to the special needs in the following situations: normal and complicated deliveries, pregnancy complications, miscarriage and post-abortion complications, spread of HIV/AIDS and STIs, and sexual and gender-based violence.
SEC. 9. Maternal Death Review
All LGUs, national and local government hospitals, and other public health units shall conduct annual maternal death review in accordance with the guidelines set by the DOH.
SEC. 10. Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines
Products and supplies for modern family planning methods shall be part of the National Drug Formulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units.
SEC. 10. Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines
Products and supplies for modern family planning methods shall be part of the National Drug Formulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units.
SEC. 11. Procurement and Distribution of Family Planning Supplies
The DOH shall spearhead the efficient procurement, distribution to LGUs and usage-monitoring of family planning supplies for the whole country. The DOH shall coordinate with all appropriate LGUs to plan and implement this procurement and distribution program. The supply and budget allotment shall be based on, among others, the current levels and projections of the following:
- (a) number of women of reproductive age and couples who want to space or limit their children;
- (b) contraceptive prevalence rate, by type of method used; and
- (c) cost of family planning supplies.
SEC. 12. Integration of Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Component in Anti-Poverty Programs
A multi-dimensional approach shall be adopted in the implementation of policies and programs to fight poverty. Towards this end, the DOH shall endeavor to integrate a responsible parenthood and family planning component into all antipoverty and other sustainable human development programs of government, with corresponding fund support. The DOH shall provide such programs technical support, including capacity-building and monitoring.
SEC. 13. Roles of Local Government in Family Planning Programs
The LGUs shall ensure that poor families receive preferential access to services, commodities and programs for family planning. The role of Population Officers at municipal, city and barangay levels in the family planning effort shall be strengthened. The Barangay Health Workers and volunteers shall be capacitated to give priority to family planning work.
SEC. 14. Benefits for Serious and Life-Threatening Reproductive Health Conditions
All serious and life threatening reproductive health conditions such as HIV and AIDS, breast and reproductive tract cancers, obstetric complications, menopausal and post-menopausal related conditions shall be given the maximum benefits as provided by PhilHealth programs.
SEC. 15. Mobile Health Care Service
Each Congressional District may be provided with at least one (1) Mobile Health Care Service (MHCS) in the form of a van or other means of transportation appropriate to coastal or mountainous areas. The MHCS shall deliver health care supplies and services to constituents, more particularly to the poor and needy, and shall be used to disseminate knowledge and information on reproductive health. The purchase of the MHCS may be funded from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of each congressional district. The operation and maintenance of the MHCS shall be operated by skilled health providers and adequately equipped with a wide range of reproductive health care materials and information dissemination devices and equipment, the latter including, but not limited to, a television set for audiovisual presentations. All MHCS shall be operated by a focal city or municipality within a congressional district.
SEC. 16. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education
Age-appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall be taught by adequately trained teachers in formal and non-formal educational system starting from Grade Five up to Fourth Year High School using life skills and other approaches. The Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall commence at the start of the school year immediately following one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act to allow the training of concerned teachers. The Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the DSWD, and the DOH shall formulate the Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education curriculum. Such curriculum shall be common to both public and private schools, out of school youth, and enrollees in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) based on, but not limited to, the psychosocial and the physical wellbeing, the demography and reproductive health, and the legal aspects of reproductive health.
Age-appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall be integrated in all relevant subjects and shall include, but not limited to, the following topics:
- (a) Values formation;
- (b) Knowledge and skills in self protection against discrimination, sexual violence and abuse, and teen pregnancy;
- (c) Physical, social and emotional changes in adolescents;
- (d) Children’s and women’s rights;
- (e) Fertility awareness;
- (f) STI, HIV and AIDS;
- (g) Population and development;
- (h) Responsible relationship;
- (i) Family planning methods;
- (j) Proscription and hazards of abortion;
- (k) Gender and development; and
- (l) Responsible parenthood.
The DepEd, CHED, DSWD, TESDA and DOH shall provide concerned parents with adequate and relevant scientific materials on the age-appropriate topics and manner of teaching Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education to their children.
SEC. 17. Additional Duty of the Local Population Officer
Each Local Population Officer of every city and municipality shall furnish free instructions and information on responsible parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding, infant nutrition and other relevant aspects of this Act to all applicants for marriage license. In the absence of a local Population Officer, a Family Planning Officer under the Local Health Office shall discharge the additional duty of the Population Officer.
SEC. 18. Certificate of Compliance
No marriage license shall be issued by the Local Civil Registrar unless the applicants present a Certificate of Compliance issued for free by the local Family Planning Office certifying that they had duly received adequate instructions and information on responsible parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding and infant nutrition.
SEC. 19. Capability Building of Barangay Health Workers
Barangay Health Workers and other community-based health workers shall undergo training on the promotion of reproductive health and shall receive at least 10% increase in honoraria, upon successful completion of training.
SEC. 20. Ideal Family Size
The State shall assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development and encourage them to have two children as the ideal family size. Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory. No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children.
SEC. 21. Employers’ Responsibilities
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall ensure that employers respect the reproductive rights of workers. Consistent with the intent of Article 134 of the Labor Code, employers with more than two hundred (200) employees shall provide reproductive health services to all employees in their own respective health facilities. Those with less than two hundred (200) workers shall enter into partnerships with hospitals, health facilities, or health professionals in their areas for the delivery of reproductive health services.
Employers shall furnish in writing the following information to all employees and applicants:
- (a) The medical and health benefits which workers are entitled to, including maternity and paternity leave benefits and the availability of family planning services;
- (b) The reproductive health hazards associated with work, including hazards that may affect their reproductive functions especially pregnant women; and
- (c) The availability of health facilities for workers.
Employers are obliged to monitor pregnant working employees among their workforce and ensure that they are provided paid half-day prenatal medical leaves for each month of the pregnancy period that the pregnant employee is employed in their company or organization. These paid pre-natal medical leaves shall be reimbursable from the Social Security System (SSS) or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), as the case may be.
SEC. 22. Pro Bono Services for Indigent Women
Private and non-government reproductive health care service providers, including but not limited to gynecologists and obstetricians, are mandated to provide at least forty-eight (48) hours annually of reproductive health services, ranging from providing information and education to rendering medical services free of charge to indigent and low income patients, especially to pregnant adolescents. These forty-eight (48) hours annual pro bono services shall be included as pre-requisite in the accreditation under the PhilHealth.
SEC. 23. Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs)
The cities and municipalities must ensure that barriers to reproductive health services for PWDs are obliterated by the following:
- (a) providing physical access, and resolving transportation and proximity issues to clinics, hospitals and places where public health education is provided, contraceptives are sold or distributed or other places where reproductive health services are provided;
- (b) adapting examination tables and other laboratory procedures to the needs and conditions of persons with disabilities;
- (c) increasing access to information and communication materials on sexual and reproductive health in braille, large print, simple language, and pictures;
- (d) providing continuing education and inclusion rights of persons with disabilities among health-care providers; and
- (e) undertaking activities to raise awareness and address misconceptions among the general public on the stigma and their lack of knowledge on the sexual and reproductive health needs and rights of persons with disabilities.
SEC. 24. Right to Reproductive Health Care Information
The government shall guarantee the right of any person to provide or receive non-fraudulent information about the availability of reproductive health care services, including family planning, and prenatal care.
The DOH and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) shall initiate and sustain a heightened nationwide multi-media campaign to raise the level of public awareness of the protection and promotion of reproductive health and rights including family planning and population and development.
SEC. 25. Implementing Mechanisms
Pursuant to the herein declared policy, the DOH and the Local Health Units in cities and municipalities shall serve as the lead agencies for the implementation of this Act and shall integrate in their regular operations the following functions:
- (a) Ensure full and efficient implementation of the Reproductive Health Care Program;
- (b) Ensure people’s access to medically safe, legal, effective, quality and affordable reproductive health supplies and services;
- (c) Ensure that reproductive health services are delivered with a full range of supplies, facilities and equipment and that healthcare service providers are adequately trained for such reproductive health care delivery;
- (d) Take active steps to expand the coverage of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), especially among poor and marginalized women, to include the full range of reproductive health services and supplies as health insurance benefits;
- (e) Strengthen the capacities of health regulatory agencies to ensure safe, legal, effective, quality, accessible and affordable reproductive health services and commodities with the concurrent strengthening and enforcement of regulatory mandates and mechanisms;
- (f) Promulgate a set of minimum reproductive health standards for public health facilities, which shall be included in the criteria for accreditation. These minimum reproductive health standards shall provide for the monitoring of pregnant mothers, and a minimum package of reproductive health programs that shall be available and affordable at all levels of the public health system except in specialty hospitals where such services are provided on optional basis;
- (g) Facilitate the involvement and participation of NGOs and the private sector in reproductive health care service delivery and in the production, distribution and delivery of quality reproductive health and family planning supplies and commodities to make them accessible and affordable to ordinary citizens;
- (h) Furnish LGUs with appropriate information and resources to keep them updated on current studies and researches relating to responsible parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding and infant nutrition; and
- (i) Perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes of this Act.
The Commission on Population (POPCOM), as an attached agency of DOH, shall serve as the coordinating body in the implementation of this Act and shall have the following functions:
- (a) Integrate on a continuing basis the interrelated reproductive health and population development agenda consistent with the herein declared national policy, taking into account regional and local concerns;
- (b) Provide the mechanism to ensure active and full participation of the private sector and the citizenry through their organizations in the planning and implementation of reproductive health care and population and development programs and projects; and
- (c) Conduct sustained and effective information drives on sustainable human development and on all methods of family planning to prevent unintended, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies.
SEC. 26. Reporting Requirements
Before the end of April of each year, the DOH shall submit an annual report to the President of the Philippines, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (HOR). The report shall provide a definitive and comprehensive assessment of the implementation of its programs and those of other government agencies and instrumentalities, civil society and the private sector and recommend appropriate priorities for executive and legislative actions. The report shall be printed and distributed to all national agencies, the LGUs, civil society and the private sector organizations involved in said programs.
The annual report shall evaluate the content, implementation and impact of all policies related to reproductive health and family planning to ensure that such policies promote, protect and fulfill reproductive health and rights, particularly of parents, couples and women.
SEC. 27. Congressional Oversight Committee (COC)
There is hereby created a Congressional Oversight Committee composed of five (5) members each from the Senate and the HOR. The members from the Senate and the HOR shall be appointed by the Senate President and the Speaker, respectively, based on proportional representation of the parties or coalition therein with at least one (1) member representing the Minority.
The COC shall be headed by the respective Chairs of the Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Population and Family Relations of the HOR. The Secretariat of the COC shall come from the existing Secretariat personnel of the Senate’ and the HOR’ committees concerned
The COC shall monitor and ensure the effective implementation of this Act, determine the inherent weakness and loopholes in the law, recommend the necessary remedial legislator or administrative measures and perform such other duties and functions as may be necessary to attain the objectives of this Act.
SEC. 28. Prohibited Acts
The following acts are prohibited:
- (a) Any healthcare service provider, whether public or private, who shall:
- (1) Knowingly withhold information or restrict the dissemination thereof, or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health, including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods;
- (2) Refuse to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of third party consent or authorization. In case of married persons, the mutual consent of the spouses shall be preferred. However in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail. In the case of abused minors where parents or other family members are the respondent, accused or convicted perpetrators as certified by the proper prosecutorial office or court, no prior parental consent shall be necessary; and
- (3) Refuse to extend health care services and information on account of the person’s marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, or nature of work; Provided, That, the conscientious objection of a healthcare service provider based on his/her ethical or religious beliefs shall be respected; however, the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another healthcare service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible who is willing to provide the requisite information and services; Provided, further, That the person is not in an emergency condition or serious case as defined in RA 8344 otherwise known as “An Act Penalizing the Refusal of Hospitals and Medical Clinics to Administer Appropriate Initial Medical Treatment and Support in Emergency and Serious Cases”.
- (b) Any public official who, personally or through a subordinate, prohibits or restricts the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning; or forces, coerces or induces any person to use such services.
- (c) Any employer or his representative who shall require an employee or applicant, as a condition for employment or continued employment, to undergo sterilization or use or not use any family planning method; neither shall pregnancy be a ground for non-hiring or termination of employment.
- (d) Any person who shall falsify a certificate of compliance as required in Section 15 of this Act; and
- (e) Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.
SEC. 29. Penalties
Any violation of this Act or commission of the foregoing prohibited acts shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine of Ten Thousand (P 10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P 50,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the competent court; Provided That, if the offender is a public official or employee, he or she shall suffer the accessory penalty of dismissal from the government service and forfeiture of retirement benefits. If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president or any responsible officer. An offender who is an alien shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration.
SEC. 30. Appropriations
The amounts appropriated in the current annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) for Family Health and Responsible Parenting under the DOH and POPCOM shall be allocated and utilized for the initial implementation of this Act. Such additional sums necessary to implement this Act; provide for the upgrading of facilities necessary to meet Basic Emergency Obstetric Care and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care standards; train and deploy skilled health providers; procure family planning supplies and commodities as provided in Sec. 6; and implement other reproductive health services, shall be included in the subsequent GAA.
SEC. 31. Implementing Rules and Regulations
Within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act, the Secretary of the DOH shall formulate and adopt amendments to the existing rules and regulations to carry out the objectives of this Act, in consultation with the Secretaries of the DepED, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the DOLE, the DSWD, the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Commissioner of CHED, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), and two NGOs or Peoples’ Organizations (POs) for women. Full dissemination of the IRR to the public shall be ensured.
SEC. 32. Separability Clause
If any part or provision of this Act is held invalid or unconstitutional, other provisions not affected thereby shall remain in force and effect.
SEC. 33. Repealing Clause
All other laws, decrees, orders, issuances, rules and regulations which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.
SEC. 34. Effectivity
This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.