Makabayan Bloc Moves To Amend HB 4244 To Take Out Population Control Provisions

MAKABAYAN BLOC PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO HB 4244

[1] “SECTION 3. Guiding Principles, (l): 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”

CAN BE REPHRASED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:
The resources of the country must be made to serve the entire population, especially the poor, and make allocations adequate and effective.

RATIONALE:
This provision must be rephrased in the RH bill because it perpetuates the wrong notion that blames a burgeoning population, and specifically women’s wombs, for the rising poverty in the country. Our people are suffering from poverty, they are not the ones causing it. To address poverty is to address inequity and address landlessness, lack of industries, low wages, high prices, and poor and inaccessible social services. Our population is our nation’s resource. Stop blaming the poor and the women.

[2] “SECTION 12: Integration of Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Component in Anti-Poverty Programs. – A multidimensional 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 sustainable human development programs of government, with corresponding program support. The DOH shall provide such programs technical support, including capacity-building and monitoring.”

CAN BE REPHRASED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:
“A multidimensional approach shall be adopted in the implementation of policies and programs to fight poverty. Towards this end, the DOH shall implement programs that ensure full access of poor and marginalized women to reproductive health care services, products and programs. The DOH shall provide such programs technical support, including capacity-building and monitoring.”

RATIONALE:
Unguardedly, the current Section 12 of HB4244, in its original phrasing, can release the floodgate for the State to carry out its population control program under the guise of pro-choice and poverty alleviation. The women’s right to informed choice must not be imperiled by any design for population control. State responsibility for healthcare must not be subsumed by private profit especially by big pharmaceutical companies just waiting in the wings.

[3] SECTION 25. Implementing Mechanisms. –
…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 integrated 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 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.

CAN BE REPHRASED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:
…The Commission on Population (POPCOM), as an attached agency of DOH, shall serve as the coordinating body in the implementation of SECTIONS 7, 10, 11, 13, and 17 of this Act and shall have the following functions:
(a) 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 development programs and projects; and
(b) Conduct sustained and effective information drives on sustainable human development and on all methods of family planning to prevent unintended, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies.

RATIONALE:
Unguardedly, this provision can release the floodgate for the State to carry out its population control program under the guise of pro-choice and poverty alleviation. Also, allowing the Population Commission under section 25 to serve as coordinating body in implementing the bill once it becomes law underscores the State’s intent in pushing for population control.
The Population Commission’s role in the implementation of this Act should be limited to specific provisions that fall within its mandate as a “technical and information resource agency, working in partnership with national and local government policy and decision-makers, program implementers, community leaders, and civil society” and as lead “strategic planners, policy and program advocates for the Population Program.”

SIGNED
Rep. Luzviminda C. Ilagan
Rep. Emmi A. De Jesus
Rep. Teddy A. Casiño
Rep. Neri J. Colmenares
Rep. Rafael V. Mariano
Rep. Antonio L. Tinio
Rep. Raymond V. Palatino