On June 27, 2012, the Department of Health issued Administrative Order No. 2012- 0009, entitled “National Strategy Toward Reducing Unmet Need for Modern Family Planning as a Means to Achieving MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] on Maternal Health” (the “AO”).
This is a BOLD intervention by the government of President Benigno Aquino to address “unmet need for modern Family Planning” or UMFP. UMFP is defined as “the number of women who are fecund and sexually active but are not using any modern method of contraception, and report not wanting any more children (limiting) or wanting to delay the birth of their next child (spacing).”
The AO aims to attain by 2015 the health-related goals under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), specifically by “reducing by two-thirds the maternal mortality”. This is part and parcel of the Aquino Health Agenda referred to as Kalusugan Pangkalahatan (KP).
There is no denying – the AO implements and provides the comprehensive guidelines for the UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO A FULL RANGE OF MODERN FAMILY PLANNING METHODS which is the centerpiece of the REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL. The AO thus serves as the Implementing Rules and Regulations of a controversial measure that has yet to become a law (if it ever becomes one!). Under the AO, the Family Planning program shall be implemented at the national and local levels through the financial and manpower resources from both public and private sectors to ensure its success. The DOH, LGUs, POPCOM (which is specially tasked to ensure “increased demand for FP goods and services”), DSWD, Philhealth, among others, are expected to coordinate closely to ensure widespread and complete implementation of the program.
Lest it be forgotten, the RH BILL is still being debated in the House of Representatives, and will undergo a period of amendments in the Senate, and the legislative process will still have to be completed. In short, the measure is still a Bill and remains to be within the jurisdiction of the Legislature to decide what to do with it. But the Executive, through the DOH, has obviously grown impatient and arrogated upon itself the legislative function that rightfully and legally belongs to the Legislature.
Obviously, somebody either is unmindful of the law or is simply ignorant of the law. In either case, this is an affront to the Constitution and to the democratic principles that we, as a people, uphold.
Democracy calls for an enlightened and informed citizenry who are free to determine and carve out their destiny within the bounds of law.
Where are we headed to? Do we allow ourselves to be led by the coercive power of acclaimed leaders or do we choose to be guided by the enlightened power of faith and reason?
Atty. Maria Concepcion S. Noche, President
ALLIANCE FOR THE FAMILY FOUNDATION PHILIPPINES, INC.
Download the Administrative Order in PDF