The Positive and Negative Aspects
Reproductive Health Bill of 2011
(Whether or not RH Bill respects fundamental human rights)
A Research Paper In Legal Research
Atty. Deanna Pena
Asisclo Pablo Uyson
As a developing country, the Philippines is confronted with several challenges: political, social and economical. With the growing number of its citizens falling way below the poverty line, the government, together with its agencies and instrumentalities, are putting their best efforts forward, to address the pressing needs of the public.
Equally, members of the civil society push forth their respective advocacies in order to contribute to the betterment of our community and to the improvement of the quality of life of our citizenry.
In line with the economical challenge to eradicate poverty, our legislators drafted the Reproductive Health Bill of 2011 in order to control rapid population growth, one of the leading causes of the country's economic downfall.
The debate has not yet come to an end. Principles, wisdom and opinions clash. We are to ascertain the voice of absolute majority. Vox populi est suprema lex.
True enough, the RB Bill issue is a serious matter that each and every Filipino ctizen should scrutinize and pay attention to, lest one day we will wake up regretting with irreparable damage it may cause to the very foundation and every fiber of our culture, tradition and existence as a unique nation.
While time still permits and the opportunity to control and decide for what future we want to leave as a legacy to the in-coming generation still exists, let us exhaust all possibilities available in weighing the pros and cons of this delicate and a make or break issue on Reproductive Health.
Wherefore, the researchers present this comprehensive study and analysis in view of the issue with an emphasis on the positive and the negative sides of the matter.
Purpose of the Study
The study of the Reproductive Health Bill shall serve the following purposes:
1) to determine and resolve the legal questions concerning RH Bill;
2) to establish the positive and negative aspects of the RH Bill; and
3) to arrive with a recommendation on reproductive health bill and/or reproductive health in general.
Statement of the Objectives
This paper aims to resolve the following issues:
1) whether or not RH Bill respects the right to life;
2) whether or not RH Bill respects the right to religion;
3) whether or not RH Bill respects the freedom of speech and expression;
4) whether or not RH Bill respects the right to privacy;
5) whether or not RH Bill respects the right to choose; and
6) whether or not RH Bill further protects welfare of women.
Scope and Limitation
The focal point of the study is the proposed Reproductive Health Bill of the Philippines. It includes a brief discussion of the evolution of the bill with cross references to international treaties and agreements entered into by the Republic of the Philippines.
The paper discusses the positive and negative points of the bill in a legal aspect, and also extends to contemporary issues raised by different sectors of the community participating in the policy formulation.
The information obtained and used in the presentation herein are culled from Philippine laws, jurisprudence, international treaties and agreements, resource authorities and legislators.
Both a policy and a value judgment research, this study dwells on the legality, necessity and beneficiality of the issue at hand.
Background of the study
Evolution of the Reproductive Health Bill
Population growth has been one the challenges faced by different countries since 1960’s. As part of their thrust, the United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), reached out to populous countries, by financing for family planning commodities. The policy established that rapid population growth is inimical to socio-political and economic growth. Since then, worldwide efforts had been seen in the collaborative programs with the United Nations.
Locally, the history of the reproductive health legislation can be traced back to the Marcos regime, when the Philippines, together with 11 other countries, became part of the Declaration on Population. The said agreement pushed forward population control as means to attain economic development.
To carry out the mandate of the Declaration, President Ferdinand Marcos systematized the promotion and delivery of reproductive health services by means of distributing contraception to different parts of the country. Conversely, President Corazon Aquino favored the freedom of choice exercised by individuals, particularly the couples, regarding domestic decisions. Subsequently, population management became the thrust of Ramos administration, while President Estrada rather favored varied methods of population control. This was followed by the advent of natural family planning, which boomed during the Arroyo regime.
Being true to the mandate of the United Nations’ Millennium Declaration, which was signed by the Philippines in 2000, the country has been formulating policies, creating task groups and implementing programs regarding reproductive health.
RH Bill, otherwise known as the “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011” was introduced during the First Regular Session of the Fifteenth Congress. The said bill is in substitution of House Bill Nos. 96, 101, 513, 1160, 1520 and 3387.
The raison d’être of the bill is to guarantee the exercise by all persons of the universal basic human right to reproductive health. It also aims to promote gender equality and equity by prohibiting discrimination against any person on grounds such as sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, political affiliation and ethnicity. It includes the eradication of discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of reproductive health rights. Similarly, the bill promotes the welfare and rights of women and children, and paves the way to universal access to various forms of reproductive health services.
The passage of House Bill 4244 is anchored on the following principles: 1) freedom of choice; 2) respect, protection and fulfillment of reproductive health; 3) human development; 4) responsible parenting; 5) right to health; 6) family planning; 7) collaboration among sectors of society; 8) gender equality; 9) women empowerment; and 10) upliftment of the quality of life.
The bill defines reproductive health as “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.”
Furthermore, the elements of reproductive health care were enumerated, with reference to its definition that is “ 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.”
One of the prime considerations in the passage of the bill is the integration of family planning into anti-poverty programs. To address this concern, the bill provided for the accessibility of family planning services, including but not limited to, methods, supplies, commodities and programs giving priority to family planning work.
It also indicates the responsibilities of health institutions, employers, educational institutions and local government units, and requires their participation in the materialization of this mandate. Included therein are the mechanisms by which to implement the policy.
As provided under Section 28 therein, the prohibited acts that will be committed by healthcare service provider, are knowingly withholding of correct information regarding reproductive health programs and services, refusal to perform legal and medically safe reproductive health procedures, and refusal to extend health care services and information. Any public official who restricts or prohibits the delivery of such services shall also be punished. Discrimination by the employer or representative in hiring of employees is likewise prohibited. Falsification of certificate of compliance and disinformation about the intent of the bill are also punishable.
The Positive Aspects of the Reproductive Health Bill
Population Growth Control, Eradication of Poverty
Section 2, Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides that “The Philippines... adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.” The proposition of the Reproductive Health Bill was primarily derived from the Millennium Declaration (see Appendix B), a United Nation initiative in which the Philippines is one of the signatory countries. The goals of the 2000-2015 declaration are summed up as follows:
“Goal 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people living on less that $1 a day
By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
Goal 2. Achieve universal primary education
By 2015, ensure a full course of primary schooling for boys and girls alike
Goal 3. Promote gender equality and empower women
By 2005, eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education; at all levels of education no later than 2015.
Goal 4. Reduce child mortality
By 2015, reduce by two-thirds the number of children dying under age five
Goal 5. Improve maternal health
By 2015, reduce by three quarters the number of women dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth
Goal 6. Combat HV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
By 2015, halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
Goal 7. Ensure environmental sustainability
Reverse the loss of environmental resources
By 2015, halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking-water
By 2020, achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers
Goal 8. Develop a global partnership for development
Address the special needs of the least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing States
Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries through national and international measures in order to make debt sustainable in the long term
In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications technologies.”
Behind the Declaration is the premise that: the larger the population, the more difficult it becomes for the government to manage the country’s resources. The legislators felt the need to create a public policy that shall carry out the goals in this UN agreement, which resulted in the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill that encompasses, in whole and in part, the specific goals, namely: poverty reduction, gender equality, maternal health and child mortality reduction. This is reflected in Section 2, Declaration of Policy, providing that “…there shall be no discrimination against any person on grounds such as sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, political affiliation and ethnicity... the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of the welfare and rights of children.”
The population shall be small or manageable enough in order that the government may address the needs of the general public. Contradictory to the direct link between population growth and economic downfall, sovereign will avers quality of life as its major concern: less in quantity but more in quality. In rather poor countries like the Philippines, we need to maintain a manageable population is order to best serve the needs of our people. Salus populi est suprema lex.
The economic situation of the Philippines was compared to that of its neighboring countries, wherein that study arrived in the finding that there is a connection between rapid population growth and poverty. A parallel finding drove at the conclusion that “the experience from across Asia indicates that a population policy cum government-funded [family planning] program has been a critical complement to sound economic policy and poverty reduction...”
Family planning and responsible parenthood
One of the objectives of the bill is to make reproductive health services accessible and available to those who cannot afford them: the poor which constitute the majority of the population of the Philippines. Population growth is attributed to lack of information on reproductive health by a large number of poor women. A study concluded: women of reproductive age express the desire to avoid pregnancy but cannot do so due to lack of access and information.
By means of the RH Bill, reproductive health services will be made accessible and available all over the country. Pertinent provisions express:
“Section 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 optional basis…
“Section 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.
“Section 12. Integration of Family Planning and Responsible Parenthood 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 family planning and responsible parenthood component into all anti-poverty programs of government, with corresponding fund support…
“Section 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.”
The provisions aforementioned are consistent with the constitutional principle that “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution...” The family is protected and strengthened when its members have knowledge of the so-called “family planning”. A family whose basic needs of the members are adequately met, and which in turn become assets to the community, are, in effect, the basic and autonomous components of our society.
Reproductive Health Education
One of the material provisions of the bill is the mandatory reproductive health education to be taught from fifth grade to fourth year in high school, in “an age-appropriate manner.” The intent of the bill is contrary to the argument of the opposition that this will lead to more early pregnancies among youth. Reproductive health education is a constructive instruction that will direct, not mislead, the students into the proper information regarding their sexuality. In light of that, the students will become aware of the weight and consequences of their actions, which, in the long run, will make them more responsible in decision-making regarding reproductive health. To educate is to enlighten. To instruct is to prune. We have to trust that our educational system is capacitated to deliver proper instructions on a sensitive subject matter that is sexuality. This is sustained by the bill provision that “adequately trained teachers in formal and non-formal educational system” are mandated to teach Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education.
The said Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall serve a wide-range of students, including but not limited to those enrolled in public and private schools, out-of-school youth, and students in the Alternative Learning System (ALS). Several government agencies - The Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Health (DOH) - are further tasked to formulate the curriculum for reproductive health education. The subject matter is encompassing that it includes transfer of valuable information on values formation, protection against discrimination and other forms of sexual abuse, human rights, fertility awareness and sex-related diseases, family planning and responsible parenthood.
RH Bill promotes women empowerment in different aspects.
It ensures gender equality by prohibiting discrimination on grounds such as sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, political affiliation and ethnicity. The rights of women are upheld and protected. This is consistent with constitutional provision on women empowerment: “The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.”
Moreover, the bill respects the right of women to decide on the number and spacing of children taking into account their health, services and health resources available to them, hence, putting forward their welfare and safety. They are as well entitled to access a full range of safe, legal, affordable, effective and modern methods of limiting and spacing pregnancy.
As manifested in the bill's guiding principles: “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...”, the bill clearly recognizes the active participation of women’s organizations in formulation of policies, plans and programs addressing the needs of the poor, especially women.
The Negative Aspects of the Reproductive Health Bill
Since the passing of the RH Bill in Congress and the Senate in 2008, much has already been said and written about this controversial social issue in our country. What makes this bill more controversial is the fact that our nation is the only Catholic Christian country in the whole of Asia, wherein most of its citizens believe and practice the teachings and principles of the Catholic Church particularly on the realm of valuing and promoting life and every aspect related to it.
The following discussion is capsulization of the many proponents in view of the matter both from famous and not so famous yet credible authority concerning the legal basis and essential reasons why the RH bill is both flawed and inconsistent with good customs, public policies and morals. Although there are numerous reasons both legal and otherwise why the RH bill should not prosper, this proposition shall be limited to the most vital provisions in view of our legal system.
Opponents of the Bill strongly argues that the Bill is in itself: unconstitutional, based on a flawed premise, totally unnecessary, wrongly assumes the state as omnipotent, destructive of public morals and family values, unjust to catholic taxpayers, not as what its authors say it is, and the like.
1. The bill is patently unconstitutional.
a) According to former senator Francisco Tatad* (Francisco S. Tatad represents Asia-Pacific on the Governing Boards of International Right to Life Federation, Cincinnati, Ohio, and World Youth Alliance, New York, NY.), Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution provides: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”
“Sanctity” - the state of being holy---is an attribute of God. God is not outside our lives; the very first words of the Constitution proclaim it: “We, the sovereign Filipino People, imploring the aid of Almighty God…” Obedience to God’s laws, therefore, is not only a solemn teaching of the Church, but also an express constitutional mandate.
The government cannot be party to a program that seeks to prevent one married woman from conceiving, without making a mockery of that mandate. That is the necessary implication of the State’s duty to “equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”
b). Article XV recognizes “marriage as an inviolable social institution,” and “the foundation of the family.” Which, in turn, the State recognizes as “the foundation of the nation.” Section 3 (1) of the same Article binds the State to defend “the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood.”
Clearly, these aforementioned cases do not allow the State to tell members of any faith - in this case the Catholic faith - not to listen to what their Church teaches on faith and morals, or responsible parenthood, but to listen to the politicians and the population controllers instead.
c) The RH bill will require: i) All schools (including Catholic schools) to teach artificial family planning methods to HS students; ii) Employers to give their employees reproductive health services; iii) Health care service providers to give contraceptives and perform vasectomy or ligation.
This is a violation of Art. III, Sec. 5 of our Constitution that states: “…The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed.”
d) “No contraceptive is 100%. There is a 7% failure rate.” This means there is a slim chance that fertilization may occur. However, the pill renders the uterus inhospitable to the fertilized egg, which is unable to attach itself to the uterine lining. It is therefore ejected out of the body. This is the meaning of ‘abortifacient’ effect, or chemical abortion. It is a gross violation of Art. II, Sec. 12 of our Constitution, which states: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception…”
e) The RH Bill will allow a person to undergo vasectomy or ligation without the consent of the spouse. This is a violation of Art. XV, Sec. 2 of our Constitution that states: “Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.”
f) The bill will also allow abused and/or pregnant minors to seek reproductive health service without parental consent. This violates our parental right provided in Art. II, Sec. 12 of our constitution: “…The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”
g) The bill will penalize any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of the bill. It violates Art. III, Sec. 4 of our Constitution, which provides that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press...”
2. The bill is based on a flawed premise.
There is no “population explosion” and the country is not overpopulated.\
According to former Senator Francisco Tatad, and I quote: “the population growth rate and the total fertility rate (TFR) have declined. The National Statistics Office puts the growth rate at 2.04 %, the TFR at 3.02. However, the CIA World Factbook (2008), for one, puts the growth rate at 1.728%, the TFR at 3.00.” This fact spells that at least one million Filipinos leave the country for foreign jobs every year. There are at least 12 million Filipinos now living and working abroad.
Indeed, the country has a population density of 277 Filipinos per square km, with a GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) of $,3400. The Central African Republic has a population density of 6.5 and a GDP per capita (PPP) of $700. At least 50 countries have a much lower population density than that of the Philippines, yet their GDP per capita is also much lower.
Fact: the few are not always richer.
On the other hand, at least 36 countries have a much higher population density than that of the Philippines, yet their GDP per capita is also much higher. Macau has 18,428 people per square km and a GDP per capita of $28,400; Monaco has 16,754 people per square km, with a per capita income of $30,000; Hong Kong has 6,407 per square km, and a per capita income of $42,000; and Singapore has 6,489 per square km., and a per capita income of $49,700.
Fact: the many are not always poorer.
The most critical statistic has to do with the age structure of the population. Worldwide, the median age is 27.4 years. In the Philippines, it is 23 years. In at least 139 countries it is higher than 23; in 73 others, lower. All the developed countries are on the high side. Monaco has the highest (45.5 years), followed by Japan (43.8), Germany (43.4), Italy (42.9), Sweden (41.3), Spain (40.7), Switzerland (40.7), Holland (40), United Kingdom (39.9), France (39.2), Singapore (38.4), Russia (38.3), United States (36.7), South Korea (36.4). In China, the world’s fastest growing economy, it is 33.6.
This means a Filipino has more years to be productive than his counterpart in the developed world, where the population is graying and dying, without adequate replacement because of negative birth rates. Those who understand this well will tend to be more confident of the future; they will see the need to invest more extensively in the development of this resource.
3. The bill is totally unnecessary.
Except for the purported objective of treating fertility and preventing abortion, which (if government is serious) may be immediately addressed by secondary health policy, the things the bill wants to do are already being done, whether legally or not.
Officially-sponsored contraception and sterilization are ongoing with foreign and local funding, even without a legal mandate. Punishable abortions go unpunished. Certain things that are lawful and necessary (like promotion of breast-feeding, infant and child health and nutrition) can be done easily without legislation. Some truly repugnant things (like mandatory sex education for young children, inclusion of contraceptives and abortifacients in the National Drug Formulary as essential medicines, and making a family planning compliance certificate from the civil registrar a requirement for marriage) should not be legislated at all.
There is free access to information on contraception. No law bars anyone from using contraceptives of their choice, it is a free market. You don’t need the government for it. Consumers however must pay for their own, as they pay for everything else. The Philippines is not a welfare state, nobody gets a free lunch. If the government has the money, it should spend it to save women from killer-diseases, not on trying to cure pregnancy, which is not a disease.
At least 80 women are said to die from heart diseases everyday; 63 from vascular diseases; 51 from cancer; 45 from pneumonia; 23 from tuberculosis; 22 from diabetes; 16 from lower chronic respiratory diseases. This is where the State should provide, if it could, free medicine and medical services.
Now, out of every 100,000 live births, some 107 women are said to die from complications during childbirth. This is 107 too many. But the local executives of Gattaran, Cagayan and Sorsogon City have shown that maternal death during childbirth could be brought down to zero simply by providing women with adequate basic and emergency obstetric care facilities and skilled medical services. Not contraceptives.
On July 29, 2005, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that after a thorough review of the published scientific literature, it was concluded that oral contraceptives are carcinogenic to humans - they cause breast, liver and cervical cancer. In light of that, the government should ban the carcinogens or label them as “cancer-causing,” or “dangerous to women’s health.” But some legislators, some of them doctors too, still want to distribute them as “essential medicines” to our women. Why?
4. The bill assumes that the state is omnipotent: it seeks to confer upon the state a right and authority it does not, and can never, possess.
No one questions the right of the State to levy taxes, to expropriate private property for public use, to conscript able-bodied young men for its defense. But the State may not enter the family bedroom and tell married couples how to practice marital love.
For while it is a citizen who casts his vote, pays his taxes and fights for his flag, it is a man who embraces his wife and fathers her child. There are certain areas, certain activities of man as man where every individual is accountable only to God, and completely autonomous from the State. These are sacred and inviolate areas where the State may not intrude.
Allow the State to invade its citizens’ innermost private lives, and it will just be a matter of time before they are told that thay can no longer breathe unless the State allows it.
5. The bill is destructive of morals and family values.
It seeks to legislate a hedonistic sex-oriented lifestyle whose aim is to assure couples and everybody else of “a safe and satisfying sex life” (the other term for contraceptive sex), instead of a mutually fulfilling conjugal life, and ultimately change time-honored Filipino values about human life, family life, marriage, in favor of the most destructive counter-values that are wreaking havoc on the morals of many consumerist societies.
6. The bill is particularly unjust to catholic taxpayers, who constitute the majority, and who will be made to bear the cost of the program that will ultimately attack a constantly held doctrine of their faith.
The same objection would hold even if the affected party were a religious minority. In fact, it should be interesting to find out whether any legislator will dare propose any legislation that is doctrinally and morally offensive to Islam or to any politically active local religious group.
7. The bill is not what its authors say it is. It is everything they say it is not.
Not only is it hedonistic, it is above all eugenicist. It seeks to eliminate the poor and the “socially unfit” while paying lip service to their cause. While it neither mandates a two-child family nor legalizes abortion, it prepares the ground for both.
Its declared objective of population reduction conforms to the global population policy launched by U.S. National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200 in 1974, under the title IMPLICATIONS OF WORLDWIDE POPULATION GROWTH FOR U.S. SECURITY AND OVERSEAS INTERESTS. It targeted the Philippines, along with India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Columbia.
NSSM 200, also known as The Kissinger Report, called for a two-child family worldwide by the year 2000, using universal contraception and abortion. “No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion,” the Report said. In 1974, NSSM 200 estimated thirty million abortions worldwide. The annual rate has doubled since.
8. Enactment of the bill will only deepen the ignorance about the issues involved.
Some defenders of the bill claim that nine out of ten women (who must be Catholic) want to contracept, regardless of what the Church teaches about it. Sad, but if the claim is correct, then nine out of ten “Catholic” women need to be instructed more deeply on the doctrines of their faith and on the harmful effects of contraceptives and abortifacients. Not everything an individual wants is good or right; the truth is never the result of opinion surveys. Contraception is wrong not because the Church has banned it; the Church has banned it because it is wrong. No amount of surveys can change that.
The authors of the bill suggest that Catholics need not follow what the bishops are saying because Humanae Vitae, Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical on the regulation of birth, is not an infallible document. This is an unfortunate conclusion from an incomplete premise.
Church teaching on contraception did not begin with Paul VI. Onan’s case (Gen 38:8-10) is absolute proof; Pius XI and Pius XII pronounced on it before Humanae Vitae, appealing to Scripture, to the Fathers of the Church, and to tradition. While Humanae Vitae was not infallibly proposed, its teaching has been held definitively by all Catholic bishops. It meets the criteria set forth by Vatican II for an infallible exercise of the ordinary magisterium of the bishops throughout the world. As the theologian Russell Shaw points out, the Church has always taught contraception to be gravely sinful; she has never taught that it is good, permissible, or even only venially sinful.
9. The natural regulation of conceptions does not offend the constitution or the religious belief of any couple; it is in full accord with the demands of responsible parenthood, and is not contraception at all. No law is needed for the state to support it.
The Billings Method, which takes advantage of the fertility rhythm of the human body, has been attested by the WHO to be 99% effective. But as there is no money in it, no industry has promoted it like the various contraceptives and abortifacients. State support for it could spell the difference.
Once more Congress is deliberating on the RH Bill. In the Lower House it is entitled “Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2010” (HB 96) while in the Senate it is SB 2378 entitled an “Act Providing for a National Policy for Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development”.
The versions of the bill in both Houses contain substantially similar provisions. The bill’s proponents and supporters have been repeatedly endorsing its passage allegedly because its primary objective is to allow Filipino women to fully exercise their right to make an “informed choice” between the use of artificial contraceptives and natural family planning methods. But is this really the principal objective of the bill?
This has been answered before but certain background facts and circumstances as to the origin and source of the bill have to be stressed, clarified and/or disclosed for the public to be better informed and for our legislators to properly evaluate the bill with the hope that they realize why it should not, as presently crafted, be enacted into law. Even P-Noy should consider these points because it has far reaching implications beyond mere granting to married women the right to an “informed choice” on the methods to be used in planning the size of their family, which is his main reason for supporting the bill.
Former Senate Majority Leader, Francisco S. Tatad, in his Article “The RH Bill Revisited” gives us a much better answer to this question as it is clearer, direct to the point and based on facts that have been previously overlooked or glossed over. He said that the bill’s principal objective is not what the proponents say it is because:
“Filipino women and men in great numbers are already freely contracepting and getting sterilized. No law prohibits them from doing so. The Department of Health and the Population Commission have been big suppliers of contraceptives and sterilization agents and the General Appropriations Act has been carrying regular appropriations for that purpose since the 70s. DOH and Popcom personnel as well as public and private hospital staff openly ask men and women to get sterilized, especially during the birth of a new child. Many Local Government Units have since joined their ranks. The country’s contraceptive prevalence rating now stands at 50 percent. It is therefore completely misleading and deceptive to say that the RH Bill in both Houses of Congress is intended to help women make an “informed choice” on the use of contraceptives and sterilization agents.
The real objective and purpose of the bill as written is to make the State the principal, if not lone, provider of contraceptives and sterilization agents to the general public. These will be distributed as “essential” frontline medicines to cure human fertility, which is not yet a disease.
The unwritten, ultimate objective of the bill is population control. The term is meticulously avoided by the population controllers and their propagandists for political correctness, but the truth is nothing else. The original objective was to reduce the size of the family around the world to two children per family by the year 2000. The latest brainstorm seems to celebrate “the only child”, which has already created a demographic disaster in China, with a projected preponderance of 30 million males without females by 2020, or the totally childless “family”, which is guaranteed by “same sex marriage”. The RH Bill seeks to accomplish its objective through universal contraception and sterilization by the State, and mandatory sex education for school children, from Grade V up to high school, without parental consent.
The bill is clearly inspired by the global population control agenda, which also provides its strongest support. This agenda was first spelled out in U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY STUDY MEMORANDUM 200 otherwise known as the 1974 Kissinger Report. It considered the overall effects of continued population growth in developing countries, not on the poverty and social conditions of those countries, but rather upon the economic and security interest of the United States. Thereafter the US launched its global program to curb population growth in developing countries. The program was quickly adopted by the other rich countries, the United Nations and its various agencies, the World Bank, the IMF, the Asian Development Bank and various international funding institutions.
In the US, population control was promoted with great vigor by the Clinton administration, but its strongest support yet has to come from President Barack Obama whose first major official edict was to authorize the use of US funds, disallowed by his predecessor George W. Bush, to support abortion activities in the developing countries. Abortion became legal in the US in 1973 by virtue of the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade. Each year, abortion takes a toll of at least 46 million unborn children around the world. China accounts for 13 million, and India 11 million of the total count.”…..
“Population control unleashed radical changes in social mores and lifestyle and systematic attack on human life, family and marriage. As these attacks intensified, Pope John Paul II warned against the conflict between the culture of life and the culture of death. Among many Filipinos DEATH came to be known as the lethal acronym for Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total fertility control, Homo sexual practices (same sex marriage etc)”.
The foregoing are only portions of ex-Senator Tatad’s exposition. So far they have not been adequately refuted or proven incorrect, apparently because they are true. These vital information can certainly help a lot in the deliberations on the RH bill.
Summary and Conclusion
The major points of the reseach are summed up as follows:
1. The Reproductive Health Bill undermines the human rights it seeks to advance.
The government cannot, on the one hand, guarantee the “universal basic human right to reproductive health” with its concomitant “right to make free and informed decisions,” and on the other hand advocate a policy that tells parents—especially women—what their choices should be. Such an approach is an unjustifiable affront to the dignity and capacity of the poor.
The bill also claims to give equal importance to natural and artificial methods of family planning. This claim does not hold. While mention is given to natural methods of family planning, no funding is provided for the promotion of these methods in the budgetary provisions of the bill. Natural methods rely on investments in the education of women and increased knowledge, in order to enable women to manage their health, and make informed decisions. Budgetary allocations must be inserted to the bill to provide funding for the training of knowledge-based reproductive health care providers, and the promotion of necessary information to women in order to enable informed choice.
2. Maternal Health requires access to healthcare facilities and reproductive health education, not contraceptives.
Improved access to basic health care, nutrition, medicines and technology are the additional means by which maternal mortality and morbidity can be reduced and eliminated.
The mandate of the RH bill to increase obstetric care and skilled birth attendants, is not emphasized in this bill. The causes of maternal mortality and morbidity are limited: hemorrhage, infection, obstructed labor and hypertensive disorders. These causes can be significantly addressed through investment in skilled birth attendants, and provision of health education for women and families.
There is probably no more important step the Philippines could take toward improving reproductive health. The UNFPA states that three-fourths (¾) of all maternal deaths could be averted by the presence of skilled birth attendants. By contrast, family planning is likely to reduce maternal deaths only by one-third. The RH bill’s current provisions for maternal care are important, but underdeveloped in comparison with other parts of the bill.
3. It does not protect the rights of conscience of those that will be responsible for implementing new measure.
All reproductive health care workers should “provide information and educate” and “render medical services” consistent with the new provisions in this bill. This bill does not include measures that protect conscientious objections for healthcare workers or institutions that refuse to provide services due to religious or cultural beliefs and practices. In addition, through state-imposed reproductive health curriculum in schools, this bill undermines the rights of parents to be the primary educators of their children. Likewise, denying couples the right to marry without first receiving “adequate instruction” on family planning and responsible parenthood violates their individual freedom conscience and discriminates against those who would refuse such training in religious or cultural grounds.
4. It violates freedom of expression.
The bill’s criminalization of speech that “maliciously engages in disinformation” (an undefined category) about the substance or even potential motives behind the RH bill violates the constitutional right to free speech and expression. The provision should be eliminated in its entirety.
5. Increase in Contraceptive use leads to higher abortion rate
Dr. Malcolm Potts, abortion and contraceptive advocate and past medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said that “As people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate.” Dr. Judith Bury of the Brook Advisory Center chimed in a few years later that “There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might expect, the provision of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate.”
The reason for this is twofold: First, contraceptives fail a certain percentage of the time. A 5% failure rate means that 5% of the couples using a certain method will be pregnant at the end of the year. Second, the use of contraceptives gives a false sense of security that leads to risky sexual behavior . The result is more “unplanned” pregnancies and hence more abortions.
6. It fails to reaffirm the Philippines’s protection of the unborn.
Philippine law has long defended the right to life of all persons, whether born or unborn. The Reproductive Health Bill makes only an ambiguous statement of principle (“While nothing in this Act changes the law against abortion...”) as part of a care provision for post-abortion complications. Additionally, the bill’s guarantee of “reproductive health care services,” as opposed to the defined term “reproductive health care,” as well as a “universal basic human right to reproductive health” according to international legal custom, could eventually open the door to undermining Philippines national law protecting unborn persons.
7. Recent reports emphasize the problems with widely used family planning programs that fail to meet the needs of the poorest populations.
“Strategies that seek to increase contraceptive use rapidly by improving services and access in convenient or well-resourced areas are likely to increase observed inequities in contraceptive use.” Maternal mortality and general reproductive health problems also remain high because the unique issues facing poor populations are not addressed. (NuriyeOrtayli and Shawn Malarcher, “Equity Analysis: Identifying Who Benefits from Family Planning Programs.”) In this way family planning programs, by focusing on contraceptive use rather than an integrated, comprehensive approach to population development, fail to address the needs of the poor.
8. There is no direct link between high population and high poverty rates.
Correlation is not causation. It is short-sighted to think of declining population growth as a goal in of itself. Population control, as an economic policy, has proven to be unsustainable. Across Europe and Asia, countries that saw steep declines in fertility in the past generation are now bracing themselves for the future consequences of an aging population, when a large number of elderly can no longer be supported by the smaller and younger working class. During the 1970s and 1980s, Singapore instituted an aggressive two-child policy, which led to a situation of labor shortages and the difficulty of supporting an aging population. In an effort to recover, Singapore now pursues a pro-fertility policy.
In the case of Hong Kong, the country’s dense population has had no debilitating effects on its economic development. Hong Kong has experienced a great economic boom and high levels of economic prosperity largely due to a sound banking system, no public debt, a strong legal system, and a rigorously enforced anti-corruption regime. This case provides a clear example that economic development is not synonymous with small population size, and that a large population is not only sustainable but an asset to development.
We hererby oppose the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill for the following reasons:
1. AS EMPLOYERS, we do not want to be compelled to provide free reproductive health care services, supplies, devices and surgical procedures (including vasectomy and ligation) to our employees, and be subjected to both imprisonment and/or a fine, for every time that we fail to comply.
2. AS HEALTH CARE SERVICE PROVIDERS, we do not want to be subjected to imprisonment and/or a fine, if we fail to provide reproductive health care services such as giving information on family planning methods and providing services like ligation and vasectomy, regardless of the patient's civil status, gender, religion or age.
3. AS SPOUSES, we do not agree that our husband or wife can undergo a ligation or vasectomy without our consent or knowledge.
4. AS PARENTS, we do not agree that children from age 10 to 17 should be taught their sexual rights and the means to have a satisfying and "safe" sex life as part of their school curriculum.
5. AS CITIZENS, we do not want to be subjected to imprisonment and/or pay a fine, for expressing an opinion against any provision of this law, if such expression of opinion is interpreted as constituting "malicious disinformation".
7. We also do not agree to the provision which reclassifies contraceptives as essential medicines.
Thus, we hereby recommend to stop further deliberations on the bill.
Asian Development Bank. Poverty in the Philippines: Causes, Constraints and Opportunities. December 2009.
House Bill 4244. The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011.
Pimentel, Aquilino, Jr., Francisco Tatad, et. al.
Issues on the Reproductive Health Bill,Senate Bill No. 3122. Congress of the Philippines, Senate. Committee Report 286.
Population Council. Declaration on Population: The World Leaders Statement. Studies in Family Planning. January 1968.
Senate of the Philippines Economic Planning Office. Promoting Reproductive Health: A Unified Strategy to Achieve the MDGs. July 2009.
United Nations. United Nations Millennium Declaration. September 2000.
University of the Philippines School of Economics. Population and Poverty: the Real Score. December 2004.
US Department of National Security. National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM 200). 1974.
World Health Organization. WHO Model List of Essential Medicines. March 2008.
Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City, Metro Manila
First Regular Session
House Bill No. 4244
(In substitution of House Bill Nos. 96, 101, 513, 1160, 1520 & 3387)
Introduced by Honorables Edcel C. Lagman, Janette L. Garin, Kaka J. Bag-ao, Walden Bello, Rodolfo G. Biazon, etc.
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A COMPREHENSIVE POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, AND POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
SECTION 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 such as 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 human 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. This Act declares the following as guiding principles:
a. Freedom of choice, which is central to the exercise of right must be fully guaranteed by the State;
b. Respect for, protection and fulfillment of reproductive health and rights seek to promote the rights and welfare of couples, adult individuals, women and adolescents;
c. Since human resource is among the principal asset of the country, maternal health, birth of healthy children and their full human development and responsible parenting must be ensured through effective reproductive health care;
d. 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;
e. The State shall promote, without bias, all effective natural and modern methods of family planning that are medically safe and legal;
f. The State shall promote programs that: (1) enable couples, individuals and women to have the number and spacing of children 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;
g. The provision of reproductive health information, care and supplies shall be the joint responsibility of the National Government and Local Government Units;
h. 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;
i. 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;
j. 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;
k. Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of reproductive health and population and development;
l. The limited resources of the country cannot be suffered to be spread so thinly to service a burgeoning multitude that makes the allocations grossly inadequate and effectively meaningless;
m. 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
n. 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:
(a) 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 11 to 13 years and terminating at 18 to 20 years of age;
(b) Adolescent Sexuality refers to, among others, the reproductive system, gender identity, values and beliefs, emotions, relationships and sexual behavior at adolescence;
(c) 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;
(d) Anti-Retroviral Medicines (ARVs) refers to medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV;
(e) 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;
(f) Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care refers to basic emergency obstetric care including performance of caesarian section and blood transfusion;
(g) 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;
(h) 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 and modern methods of limiting and spacing pregnancy;
(i) 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;
(j) 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;
(k) 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, nurse, or 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);
(l) HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) refers to the virus which causes AIDS;
(m) 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;
(n) 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;
(o) Modern Methods of Family Planning refers to safe, effective and legal methods, whether the natural, or the artificial that are registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Department of Health (DOH);
(p) People Living with HIV (PLWH) refers to individuals whose HIV tests indicate that they are infected with HIV;
(q) Poor refers to members of households identified as poor through the National Household Targeting System for poverty reduction by the DSWD or any subsequent system used by the national government in identifying the poor.
(r) 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;
(s) 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;
(t) Reproductive Health Care 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. It also includes sexual health, the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations. The elements of reproductive health care include:
(1) family planning information and services;
(2) maternal, infant and child health and nutrition, including breastfeeding;
(3) proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications;
(4) adolescent and youth reproductive health;
(5) prevention and management of reproductive tract infections (RTIs), HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmittable infections (STIs);
(6) elimination of violence against women;
(7) education and counseling on sexuality and reproductive health;
(8) treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynecological conditions and disorders;
(9) male responsibility and participation in reproductive health;
(10) prevention and treatment of infertility and sexual dysfunction;
(11) reproductive health education for the adolescents; and
(12) mental health aspects of RH care;
(u) 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;
(v) 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;
(w) 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;
(x) Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) refers to sexually transmitted infections, and other types of infections affecting the reproductive system;
(y) 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;
(z) Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) refers to any infection that may be acquired or passed on through sexual contact;
(aa) 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;
(bb) 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
(cc) 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 Department of Health (DOH), shall employ an adequate number of midwives 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 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 care. For every 500,000 population, there shall be at least one (1) hospital with comprehensive emergency obstetric care and four (4) hospitals or other health facilities with basic emergency obstetric 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 optional basis. For poor patients, such services shall be fully covered by PhilHealth Insurance 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. Local government units and the Department of Health 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 Local Government Units (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. 11. Procurement and Distribution of Family Planning Supplies. The DOH shall spearhead the efficient procurement, distribution to Local Government Units (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 allotments 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 Family Planning and Responsible Parenthood 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 family planning and responsible parenthood component into all anti-poverty 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 shall be provided with at least one 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 goods 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 shall be funded from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of each Congressional District. The operation and maintenance of the MHCS shall be subject to an agreement entered into between the district representative and the recipient focal municipality or city. 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 audio-visual 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. 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 Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Health (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 following, the psycho-social 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 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 family planning, responsible parenthood, 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 family planning, responsible parenthood, 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. The amount necessary for the increase in honoraria shall be charged against the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) component of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program of the DSWD. In the event the CCT is phased out, the funding sources shall be charged against the Gender and Development (GAD) budget or the development fund component of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
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 200 employees shall provide reproductive health services to all employees in their own respective health facilities. Those with less than 200 workers shall enter into partnerships with hospitals, health facilities, and/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 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 48 hours annual pro bono services shall be included as prerequisite 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 persons with disabilities 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 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 non-government organizations 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 local government units with appropriate information and resources to keep them updated on current studies and researches relating to family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition; and
(i) Perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes of this Act.
The Population Commission, (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. 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. There is hereby created a Congressional Oversight Committee composed of five (5) members from the Senate and five (5) members from the House of Representatives. The members from the Senate shall be appointed by the Senate President based on proportional representation of the parties or coalition therein with at least one (1) member representing the Minority. The members from the House of Representatives shall be appointed by the Speaker, also based on proportional representation of the parties or coalitions therein with at least one (1) member representing the Minority.
The Committee shall be headed by the respective Chairs of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations and the House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations. The Secretariat of the Congressional Oversight Committee shall come from the existing Secretariat personnel of the Senate’ and the House of Representatives’ committees concerned
The Committee 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, and/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 and/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 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 and other concerned agencies 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. 10; 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 Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the DSWD, the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Commissioner of the CHED, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), and two Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) or Peoples’ Organizations (POs) for women. Full dissemination of the Implementing Rules and Regulations 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.
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly
[without reference to a Main Committee (A/55/L.2)]
55/2. United Nations Millennium Declaration
The General Assembly
Adopts the following Declaration:
United Nations Millennium Declaration
I. Values and principles
1. We, heads of State and Government, have gathered at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 6 to 8 September 2000, at the dawn of a new millennium, to reaffirm our faith in the Organization and its Charter as indispensable foundations of a more peaceful, prosperous and just world.
2. We recognize that, in addition to our separate responsibilities to our individual societies, we have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level. As leaders we have a duty therefore to all the world’s people, especially the most vulnerable and, in particular, the children of the world, to whom the future belongs.
3. We reaffirm our commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which have proved timeless and universal. Indeed, their relevance and capacity to inspire have increased, as nations and peoples have become increasingly interconnected and interdependent.
4. We are determined to establish a just and lasting peace all over the world in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter. We rededicate ourselves to support all efforts to uphold the sovereign equality of all States, respect for their territorial integrity and political independence, resolution of disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, the right to self-determination of peoples which remain under colonial domination and foreign occupation, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for the equal rights of all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion and international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character.
5. We believe that the central challenge we face today is to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for all the world’s people. For while globalization offers great opportunities, at present its benefits are very unevenly shared, while its costs are unevenly distributed. We recognize that developing countries and countries with economies in transition face special difficulties in responding to this central challenge. Thus, only through broad and sustained efforts to create a shared future, based upon our common humanity in all its diversity, can globalization be made fully inclusive and equitable. These efforts must include policies and measures, at the global level, which correspond to the needs of developing countries and economies in transition and are formulated and implemented with their effective participation.
6. We consider certain fundamental values to be essential to international relations in the twenty-first century. These include:
• Freedom. Men and women have the right to live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression or injustice. Democratic and participatory governance based on the will of the people best assures these rights.
•. Equality. No individual and no nation must be denied the opportunity to benefit from development. The equal rights and opportunities of women and men must be assured.
• Solidarity. Global challenges must be managed in a way that distributes the costs and burdens fairly in accordance with basic principles of equity and social justice. Those who suffer or who benefit least deserve help from those who benefit most.
• Tolerance. Human beings must respect one other, in all their diversity of belief, culture and language. Differences within and between societies should be neither feared nor repressed, but cherished as a precious asset of humanity. A culture of peace and dialogue among all civilizations should be actively promoted.
• Respect for nature. Prudence must be shown in the management of all living species and natural resources, in accordance with the precepts of sustainable development. Only in this way can the immeasurable riches provided to us by nature be preserved and passed on to our descendants. The current unsustainable patterns of production and consumption must be changed in the interest of our future welfare and that of our descendants.
• Shared responsibility. Responsibility for managing worldwide economic and social development, as well as threats to international peace and security, must be shared among the nations of the world and should be exercised multilaterally. As the most universal and most representative organization in the world, the United Nations must play the central role.
7. In order to translate these shared values into actions, we have identified key objectives to which we assign special significance.
II. Peace, security and disarmament
8. We will spare no effort to free our peoples from the scourge of war, whether within or between States, which has claimed more than 5 million lives in the past decade. We will also seek to eliminate the dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction.
9. We resolve therefore:
• To strengthen respect for the rule of law in international as in national affairs and, in particular, to ensure compliance by Member States with the decisions of the International Court of Justice, in compliance with the Charter of the United Nations, in cases to which they are parties.
• To make the United Nations more effective in maintaining peace and security by giving it the resources and tools it needs for conflict prevention, peaceful resolution of disputes, peacekeeping, post-conflict peace-building and reconstruction. In this context, we take note of the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations and request the General Assembly to consider its recommendations expeditiously.
• To strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter.
• To ensure the implementation, by States Parties, of treaties in areas such as arms control and disarmament and of international humanitarian law and human rights law, and call upon all States to consider signing and ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
• To take concerted action against international terrorism, and to accede as soon as possible to all the relevant international conventions.
• To redouble our efforts to implement our commitment to counter the world drug problem.
• To intensify our efforts to fight transnational crime in all its dimensions, including trafficking as well as smuggling in human beings and money laundering.
• To minimize the adverse effects of United Nations economic sanctions on innocent populations, to subject such sanctions regimes to regular reviews and to eliminate the adverse effects of sanctions on third parties.
• To strive for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, and to keep all options open for achieving this aim, including the possibility of convening an international conference to identify ways of eliminating nuclear dangers.
• To take concerted action to end illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons, especially by making arms transfers more transparent and supporting regional disarmament measures, taking account of all the recommendations of the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons.
• To call on all States to consider acceding to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, as well as the amended mines protocol to the Convention on conventional weapons.
10. We urge Member States to observe the Olympic Truce, individually and collectively, now and in the future, and to support the International Olympic Committee in its efforts to promote peace and human understanding through sport and the Olympic Ideal.
III. Development and poverty eradication
11. We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected. We are committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want.
12. We resolve therefore to create an environment – at the national and global levels alike – which is conducive to development and to the elimination of poverty.
13. Success in meeting these objectives depends, inter alia, on good governance within each country. It also depends on good governance at the international level and on transparency in the financial, monetary and trading systems. We are committed to an open, equitable, rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory multilateral trading and financial system.
14. We are concerned about the obstacles developing countries face in mobilizing the resources needed to finance their sustained development. We will therefore make every effort to ensure the success of the High-level International and Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development, to be held in 2001.
15. We also undertake to address the special needs of the least developed countries. In this context, we welcome the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries to be held in May 2001 and will endeavour to ensure its success. We call on the industrialized countries:
• To adopt, preferably by the time of that Conference, a policy of duty- and quota-free access for essentially all exports from the least developed countries;
• To implement the enhanced programme of debt relief for the heavily indebted poor countries without further delay and to agree to cancel all official bilateral debts of those countries in return for their making demonstrable commitments to poverty reduction; and
• To grant more generous development assistance, especially to countries that are genuinely making an effort to apply their resources to poverty reduction.
16. We are also determined to deal comprehensively and effectively with the debt problems of low- and middle-income developing countries, through various national and international measures designed to make their debt sustainable in the long term.
17. We also resolve to address the special needs of small island developing States, by implementing the Barbados Programme of Action and the outcome of the twenty-second special session of the General Assembly rapidly and in full. We urge the international community to ensure that, in the development of a vulnerability index, the special needs of small island developing States are taken into account.
18. We recognize the special needs and problems of the landlocked developing countries, and urge both bilateral and multilateral donors to increase financial and technical assistance to this group of countries to meet their special development needs and to help them overcome the impediments of geography by improving their transit transport systems.
19. We resolve further:
• To halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of the world’s people whose income is less than one dollar a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and, by the same date, to halve the proportion of people who are unable to reach or to afford safe drinking water.
• To ensure that, by the same date, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling and that girls and boys will have equal access to all levels of education.
• By the same date, to have reduced maternal mortality by three quarters, and under-five child mortality by two thirds, of their current rates.
• To have, by then, halted, and begun to reverse, the spread of HIV/AIDS, the scourge of malaria and other major diseases that afflict humanity.
• To provide special assistance to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
• By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers as proposed in the "Cities Without Slums" initiative.
20. We also resolve:
• To promote gender equality and the empowerment of women as effective ways to combat poverty, hunger and disease and to stimulate development that is truly sustainable.
• To develop and implement strategies that give young people everywhere a real chance to find decent and productive work.
• To encourage the pharmaceutical industry to make essential drugs more widely available and affordable by all who need them in developing countries.
• To develop strong partnerships with the private sector and with civil society organizations in pursuit of development and poverty eradication.
• To ensure that the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communication technologies, in conformity with recommendations contained in the ECOSOC 2000 Ministerial Declaration, are available to all.
IV. Protecting our common environment
21. We must spare no effort to free all of humanity, and above all our children and grandchildren, from the threat of living on a planet irredeemably spoilt by human activities, and whose resources would no longer be sufficient for their needs.
22. We reaffirm our support for the principles of sustainable development, including those set out in Agenda 21, agreed upon at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.
23. We resolve therefore to adopt in all our environmental actions a new ethic of conservation and stewardship and, as first steps, we resolve:
• To make every effort to ensure the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, preferably by the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 2002, and to embark on the required reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases.
• To intensify our collective efforts for the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.
• To press for the full implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa.
• To stop the unsustainable exploitation of water resources by developing water management strategies at the regional, national and local levels, which promote both equitable access and adequate supplies.
• To intensify cooperation to reduce the number and effects of natural and man-made disasters.
• To ensure free access to information on the human genome sequence.
V. Human rights, democracy and good governance
24. We will spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law, as well as respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development.
25. We resolve therefore:
• To respect fully and uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
• To strive for the full protection and promotion in all our countries of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for all.
• To strengthen the capacity of all our countries to implement the principles and practices of democracy and respect for human rights, including minority rights.
• To combat all forms of violence against women and to implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
• To take measures to ensure respect for and protection of the human rights of migrants, migrant workers and their families, to eliminate the increasing acts of racism and xenophobia in many societies and to promote greater harmony and tolerance in all societies.
• To work collectively for more inclusive political processes, allowing genuine participation by all citizens in all our countries.
• To ensure the freedom of the media to perform their essential role and the right of the public to have access to information.
VI. Protecting the vulnerable
26. We will spare no effort to ensure that children and all civilian populations that suffer disproportionately the consequences of natural disasters, genocide, armed conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies are given every assistance and protection so that they can resume normal life as soon as possible.
We resolve therefore:
• To expand and strengthen the protection of civilians in complex emergencies, in conformity with international humanitarian law.
• To strengthen international cooperation, including burden sharing in, and the coordination of humanitarian assistance to, countries hosting refugees and to help all refugees and displaced persons to return voluntarily to their homes, in safety and dignity and to be smoothly reintegrated into their societies.
• To encourage the ratification and full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
VII. Meeting the special needs of Africa
27. We will support the consolidation of democracy in Africa and assist Africans in their struggle for lasting peace, poverty eradication and sustainable development, thereby bringing Africa into the mainstream of the world economy.
28. We resolve therefore:
• To give full support to the political and institutional structures of emerging democracies in Africa.
• To encourage and sustain regional and subregional mechanisms for preventing conflict and promoting political stability, and to ensure a reliable flow of resources for peacekeeping operations on the continent.
• To take special measures to address the challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in Africa, including debt cancellation, improved market access, enhanced Official Development Assistance and increased flows of Foreign Direct Investment, as well as transfers of technology.
• To help Africa build up its capacity to tackle the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other infectious diseases.
VIII. Strengthening the United Nations
29. We will spare no effort to make the United Nations a more effective instrument for pursuing all of these priorities: the fight for development for all the peoples of the world, the fight against poverty, ignorance and disease; the fight against injustice; the fight against violence, terror and crime; and the fight against the degradation and destruction of our common home.
30. We resolve therefore:
• To reaffirm the central position of the General Assembly as the chief deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations, and to enable it to play that role effectively.
• To intensify our efforts to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects.
• To strengthen further the Economic and Social Council, building on its recent achievements, to help it fulfil the role ascribed to it in the Charter.
• To strengthen the International Court of Justice, in order to ensure justice and the rule of law in international affairs.
• To encourage regular consultations and coordination among the principal organs of the United Nations in pursuit of their functions.
• To ensure that the Organization is provided on a timely and predictable basis with the resources it needs to carry out its mandates.
• To urge the Secretariat to make the best use of those resources, in accordance with clear rules and procedures agreed by the General Assembly, in the interests of all Member States, by adopting the best management practices and technologies available and by concentrating on those tasks that reflect the agreed priorities of Member States.
• To promote adherence to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.
• To ensure greater policy coherence and better cooperation between the United Nations, its agencies, the Bretton Woods Institutions and the World Trade Organization, as well as other multilateral bodies, with a view to achieving a fully coordinated approach to the problems of peace and development.
• To strengthen further cooperation between the United Nations and national parliaments through their world organization, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in various fields, including peace and security, economic and social development, international law and human rights and democracy and gender issues.
• To give greater opportunities to the private sector, non-governmental organizations and civil society, in general, to contribute to the realization of the Organization’s goals and programmes.
31. We request the General Assembly to review on a regular basis the progress made in implementing the provisions of this Declaration, and ask the Secretary-General to issue periodic reports for consideration by the General Assembly and as a basis for further action.
32. We solemnly reaffirm, on this historic occasion, that the United Nations is the indispensable common house of the entire human family, through which we will seek to realize our universal aspirations for peace, cooperation and development. We therefore pledge our unstinting support for these common objectives and our determination to achieve them.
8th plenary meeting
8 September 2000
 Senate of the Philippines Economic Planning Office. “Promoting Reproductive Health: A Unified Strategy to Achieve the MDGs”. July 2009.
 Population Council. “Declaration on Population: The World Leaders Statement”. Studies in Family Planning. January 1968.
 Senate of the Philippines Economic Planning Office. op. cit.
 RH Bill. “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011.”
 United Nations. “United Nations Millennium Declaration”. September 2000.
 Asian Development Bank. “Poverty in the Philippines: Causes, Constraints and Opportunities”. December 2009.
 University of the Philippines School of Economics. “Population and Poverty: the Real Score”. December 2004.
 Section 12, Article II, 1987 Constitution.
 Section 16, RH Bill.
 Section 14, Article II, 1987 Constitution