Strengthening RH Law, among Duterte administration’s 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda

The Philippine has one of the fastest growing population in Southeast Asia because of poor family planning methods despite the Reproductive Health (RH) bill has been passed into law.  In recent statistics, the Philippines have more than 100 million population and continuously rising.

During one of his election campaigns, President Rodrigo Duterte had emphasized he would strengthen the RH Law and cited a three-child policy.  So that when he won in the presidential elections, he vowed for its full implementation.

In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, 2016, he emphasized the importance of its full implementation.  Duterte said it is high time for the government to give priority to promoting responsible parenthood and reproductive health as it is vital in his administration’s quest to reduce poverty and promote economic growth.

President Duterte SONA RH Law
President Duterte emphasized importance of RH Law during his first SONA, especially in government efforts to alleviate poverty. Photo courtesy of Rappler.

“The implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health law must be put into full force and effect,” Duterte said during his SONA delivered at the Batasan Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.

The RH Law, otherwise known as Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act was signed into law by former president Benigno S. Aquino III in December 2012.  However, its full implementation has faced many obstacles especially after the Supreme Court of the Philippines struck down some of its provisions as well as a budget cut by Congress for its implementation for 2016 by nearly P1 billion.

The chief executive also said that the RH Law is necessary so that couples will have freedom of informed choice on the number and spacing of children, so they can “can adequately care and provide for [them], eventually making them more productive members of the labor force.”

Here are the 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda of the Duterte Administration:

  1. Continue and maintain current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary, and trade policies.
  2. Institute progressive tax reform and more effective tax collection, indexing taxes to inflation. A tax reform package will be submitted to Congress by September 2016.
  3. Increase competitiveness and the ease of doing business. This effort will draw upon successful models used to attract business to local cities (e.g., Davao) and pursue the relaxation of the Constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership, except as regards land ownership, in order to attract foreign direct investment.
  4. Accelerate annual infrastructure spending to account for 5% of GDP, with Public-Private Partnerships playing a key role.
  5. Promote rural and value chain development toward increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and rural tourism.
  6. Ensure security of land tenure to encourage investments, and address bottlenecks in land management and titling agencies.
  7. Invest in human capital development, including health and education systems, and match skills and training to meet the demand of businesses and the private sector.
  8. Promote science, technology, and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity towards self-sustaining, inclusive development.
  9. Improve social protection programs, including the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program, to protect the poor against instability and economic shocks.
  10. Strengthen implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices on financial and family planning.

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