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Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines
April 20, 2014 issue
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Pro, anti RH use airlanes battleground


PFollowing the April 8 declaration of the Supreme Court that the RH law is constitutional, the Department of Health (DOH) wasted no time in pounding radio airlanes in Bohol with ads promoting the use of contraceptives, as mandated by the controversial law, Republic Act 10354. According to sources, the pro-contraceptive ads are endorsed and paid by DOH. But the anti-pills, anti-condoms ads are reportedly sponsored by Catholic church patrons coursed through a non-government organization. Day and night, radio stations in Bohol are dishing out conflicting messages from two warring sources: one ad promoting the beauty and benefits of using contraceptives, only to be debunked by another ad, aired over the same radio stations, condemning and discouraging the use of contraceptives.

“The war involving pro and anti-contraceptive advocates is sending confusion in the minds of the public,” said a long-time resident of Tagbilaran who requested not to be named due to her religious affilation. And she added: “That is the beauty of democracy. We are not barred from speaking out what we believe is true and beneficial for all. In the end, it is the listeners who will decide who to believe.” But a Boholano living in Europe who also refused to be named has said that when he listened to both radio ads pushing for different agenda, he felt sorry that despite the declaration of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of RH law, some sectors in society remain defiant with the law. “I think we need to sit down and discuss our differences and spare the public from getting confusing messages,” the source said.

The implementation of the RH law entails funding for the DOH to raise public awareness on the benefits of contraceptives. Thus, so long as there is a budget for print, TV, or radio ads, DOH will continue to bankroll the marketing of contraceptive ideals. Meanwhile, news website has summarized the provisions of the RH law which were struck down by the Supreme Court. These include:

1.) Section 7, only insofar as it: (a) requires private health facilities, non-maternity specialty hospitals, and hospitals owned by religious groups to refer patients not in an emergency or life-threatening situation to another health facility which is conveniently accessible (b) provides access to family planning and RH services to minors who have been pregnant or had a miscarriage without a parental consent.

2.) Section 23-A-1, which punishes RH providers, regardless of their religious belief, who fail or refuse to dissiminate information regarding RH services and programs

3.) Section 23-A-2-i, which allows a married individual not in a life-threatening case to access RH procedures without the consent of the spouse

4.) Section 23-A-3, insofar as it punishes an RH provider who fails to refer any non-life-threatening case to another RH provider

5.) Section 23-B, insofar as it punishes any public officer who refuses to support RH programs

6.) Section 17, which mandates a 40-hour pro bono service by private and nongovernment RH service providers, including gynecologists and obstetricians, as a prerequisite for PhilHealth accreditation

7.) Section 3.01-A and J of the RH law Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), which defines abortifacients as "primarily" inducing abortion instead of simply inducing abortion

8.) Section 23-A-2-ii, which prohibits RH service providers from refusing to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on minors in non-life-threatening situations without parental consent.

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