Reproductive Health Bill (House Bill 4244) as approved on Second Reading 12th December 2012

icon_file_folderThe following is a copy of House Bill 4244 also known as the ‘Reproductive Health Bill’ in the form as approved on Second Reading by the Philippine House of Representatives 12th Dec 2012. This is optimised for reading on the Web and is based on a PDF document made available on the ABS-CBN News website.

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CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES
FIFTEENTH CONGRESS
Third Regular Session

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H. No. 4244

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BY REPRESENTATIVES LAGMAN, GARIN (J.), BAG-AO, BELLO, BIAZON, ILAGAN, DE JESUS, GO (A.), ESTRELLA, BINAY, FLORES, YAP (S.), PALMONES, BAGUILAT, BANAL, ZUBIRI, ORTEGA (F.), JAAFAR, ERIGUEL, AMANTE-MATBA, LEONEN-PIZARRO, CAGAS, ESCUDERO, DY, SAHIDULLA, JALOSJOS (R.), ARROYO (I.), LOPEZ (C.J.), SINGSON (R.V.), FERRIOL, FERRER (J.), DUAVIT, CELESTE, CASIÑO, DATUMANONG, JALOSJOS (S.), JOSON, MENDOZA (R.), PALATINO, PADILLA, PICHAY, SAMBAR, TINIO, YU, GO (A.C.), MARCOLETA, AGLIPAY, KHO (D.), DIMAPORO (F.), BELMONTE (V.), MARIANO, COLMENARES, SINGSON (E.), BRAVO, LOYOLA, CAJAYON, RADAZA, ALBANO, ORTEGA (V.), GARIN (S.), BRIONES, ARQUIZA, CATAMCO, TOMAWIS, BATOCABE, COJUANGCO (E.), VERGARA, AVANCE-FUENTES, VILLAFUERTE, PAEZ, DIAZ, PING-AY, HARESCO, LACSON-NOEL, PANGANDAMAN (S.), COJUANGCO (K.), TREÑAS, TUPAS, OCAMPO, CANONIGO, SEMA, CASTELO, BIRON, HERRERA-DY, KHO (A.), SARMIENTO (M.), MAGSAYSAY (E.), EVARDONE, BENALDO, UNABIA, CORTUNA, GUANLAO AND EBDANE, PER COMMITTEE REPORT NO. 664
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AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A COMPREHENSIVE POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, AND POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as 1 “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development Act of 2012”.

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – The State recognizes 1 the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development. The State shall defend the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood.

The State recognizes and guarantees the exercise of the basic human right and, pursuant to the declaration of State policies under Article II, it is the duty of the State to protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution and equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.

Likewise, the State recognizes and guarantees the 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. The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State. The 2000 Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action on the Rights of the Child provides that the State shall be in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the significance of a full respect for various religions and ethical values, cultural backgrounds and philosophical convictions of individuals and their communities. Toward this end, there shall be no discrimination against any person on grounds of gender, age, religion, 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 rights shall be central to the efforts of the State to address reproductive healthcare. As a distinct but inseparable measure to the guarantee of women’s rights, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of the welfare and rights of children. The State recognizes marriage as an inviolable social institution and the 1 foundation of the family which in turn is the foundation of the nation. Pursuant thereto, the State shall defend the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood and the right of children to receive proper care and nutrition and to special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development.

The State shall protect and promote the right to health of women especially mothers in particular and of the people in general and instill health consciousness among them. The State shall likewise protect and advance the right of families in particular and the people in general to a balanced and healthful environment in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. The State likewise guarantees public access to relevant information and education on natural Billings Ovulation Method, medically safe, legal, ethical, moral, affordable, effective and quality reproductive healthcare services, methods, devices that do not violate the freedom of religion and supplies which do not prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum in the uterus and the protection of the life of the unborn from conception as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and shall prioritize the needs of poor women, men and children in marginalized families as identified through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) and other government measures of identifying marginalization, who shall be voluntary beneficiaries of reproductive healthcare, services and supplies for free. The State shall also promote openness to life: Provided, That parents bring forth to the world only those children whom they can raise in a truly humane way.

The State shall eradicate discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of reproductive health rights.

SEC. 3. Guiding Principles. – The following principles 1 constitute the
framework upon which this Act is anchored:

(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 assets of the country, maternal health, safe delivery of healthy children and their full human development, sound replacement rate and responsible parenting must be ensured through effective reproductive healthcare;

(d) The provision of ethical and medically safe, legal, accessible, affordable and effective reproductive healthcare 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 for the poor and marginalized as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization: Provided, That the State shall also provide funding support to promote modern natural methods of family planning, especially the Billings Ovulation Method, consistent with the needs of acceptors and the tenets or teachings of their religion;

(f) The State shall promote programs that: (1) enable couples, individuals and women to have the number of children they desire with due consideration to existing laws, public morals and religious beliefs on the health of women and in accordance with their religious convictions: Provided, That no one shall be deprived, for economic reasons, of the rights to have children; (2) achieve equitable allocation and utilization of resources; (3) ensure effective partnership among the national government, the 1 local government units (LGUs) and the private sector in the design, implementation, coordination, integration, monitoring and evaluation of people-centered programs to enhance the quality of life and environmental protection; (4) conduct studies to analyze demographic trends including demographic dividends from sound population policies towards sustainable human development; and (5) conduct scientific studies to determine safety and efficacy of alternative medicines and methods for reproductive healthcare development;

(g) The provision of reproductive health information, care and supplies for poor beneficiaries as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization shall be the responsibility of both the national government and the LGUS;

(h) Active participation by nongovernment, women’s, people’s, civil society organizations, the religious sector 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 and other complications due to pregnancy, childbirth and related issues shall be treated and counseled in a humane, nonjudgmental and compassionate manner without condoning abortion;

(j) There shall be no demographic or population targets and the mitigation, promotion and/or stabilization of the population growth rate is incidental to the advancement of reproductive health;

(k) Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of reproductive health and population and development;

(l) The resources of the country must be made to 1 serve the entire population, especially the poor, and make allocations thereof adequate and effective: Provided, That the life of the unborn is protected;

(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 purposes of this Act, the following terms shall be defined as follows:

(a) Abortifacient refers to any drug or device that induces abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother’s womb or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother’s womb upon determination of the FDA.

(b) 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 eleven (11) to thirteen (13) years and terminating at eighteen (18) to twenty (20) years of age.

(c) Adolescent sexuality refers to, among others, the reproductive system, gender identity, values and beliefs, emotions, relationships and sexual behavior at adolescence.

(d) 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.

(e) Antiretroviral (ARV) medicines refer to medications 1 for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV.

(f) 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 (6)-signal functions: administration of parenteral antibiotics; administration of parenteral oxytocic drugs; administration of parenteral anticonvulsants for preeclampsia and eclampsia; manual removal of placenta; removal of retained products; and assisted vaginal delivery.

(g) Comprehensive emergency obstetric care refers to basic emergency obstetric care including deliveries by surgical procedure (caesarian section) and blood transfusion.

(h) Contraceptive drug refers to any medicine, drug, chemical or potion which is used exclusively for the purpose of preventing fertilization of the female ovum.

(i) Contraceptive device is any instrument, device, material or agent introduced into the female reproductive system for the primary purpose of preventing conception.

(j) 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.

(k) 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 healthcare, services and supplies and have access to a full range of safe, legal,affordable, effective natural and modern methods of limiting and spacing pregnancy.

(l) Gender equality refers to the absence of discrimination 1 on the basis of a person’s gender in opportunities, allocation of resources or benefits and access to services.

(m) 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.

(n) Healthcare service provider refers to: (1) healthcare 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) healthcare professional, who is a doctor of medicine, a nurse or a midwife; (3) public health worker engaged in the delivery of healthcare services; or (4) barangay health worker who has undergone training programs under any accredited government andnongovernment organization (NGO) and who voluntarily renders primarily healthcare 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).

(o) HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) refers to the virus which causes AIDS.

(p) Male and female responsibility refers to both genders’ responsibility to the involvement, commitment, accountability and responsibility of males and females in relation to all areas of sexual and reproductive health as well as the protection and promotion of reproductive health concerns of male and female.

(q) Maternal death review refers to a qualitative and 1 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.

(r) Modern methods of family planning refers to safe, effective and legal methods, whether natural or artificial, that are registered with the FDA of the DOH, to plan pregnancy.

(s) Natural family planning refers to the natural, noncontraceptive method of avoiding pregnancy through periodic continence or the use of marital act during infertile periods.

(t) People Living with HIV (PLWH) refer to individuals who have been tested and found to be infected with HIV.

(u) Poor refers to members of households identified as poor through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or any subsequent system used by the national government in identifying the poor.

(v) Population and development refers to a program that aims to: (1) help couples and parents achieve their desired family size in accordance with their religion; (2) improve reproductive health of individuals so as to make them productive 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.

(w) Reproductive health refers to the state of complete physical, mental, moral 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 so as to enable the system to achieve its full, natural and normal functions and processes.

(x) Reproductive healthcare refers to the access 1 to a full range of methods, facilities, services and supplies that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by addressing reproductive health-related problems. It also includes sexual health, the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations. The elements of reproductive healthcare include the following:

(1) Family planning information and services which shall include as a first priority making women of reproductive age fully aware of their respecive cycles to make them aware of when fertilization is highly probable, as well as highly improbable;
(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 (RTls), HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmittable infections (STls);
(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 aspect of reproductive healthcare.

(y) Reproductive Healthcare Program refers to the systematic and integrated provision of reproductive healthcare to all citizens especially the poor, marginalized and those in vulnerable and crisis situations.

(z) Reproductive health rights refer to the 1 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, subject to existing laws, public morals and religious beliefs.

(aa) 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: Provided, That they are not inserted into disciplines like Mathematics, Literature, History, Geography and other subjects that are not directly related to sexual education.

(bb) Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) refers to sexually transmitted infections, and other types of infections affecting the reproductive system;

(cc) 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 consistent with their religion with the government respecting the freedom of religion.

(dd) Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) refers to any infection that may be acquired or passed on through sexual contact, use of IV, intravenous drug needles, childbirth and breastfeeding.

(ee) 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 and complicated pregnancies, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complications in women and newborns, to exclude 1 traditional birth attendant or hilot, whether trained or not.

(ff) 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.

(gg) 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 LGUs, with the financial and technical assistance from the DOH, shall employ an adequate number of midwives through regular employment or service contracting, subject to the provisions of the Local Government Code, to achieve a minimum ratio of one (1) full-time 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 (2) years: Provided, That people in geographically isolated and depressed areas, where maternal and infant mortality rates are the highest, shall be provided the same level of access.

SEC. 6. Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care. – Each province and city, with the technical and financial assistance of the DOH, shall establish or upgrade hospitals with adequate and qualified personnel, equipment and supplies to be able to provide emergency obstetric and neonatal care. For every five hundred thousand (500,000) population, there shall be at least one (1) hospital with comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care and four (4) hospitals or other health facilities with basic emergency 1 obstetric and neonatal 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 the case of specialty hospitals and hospitals owned and operated by a religious group; however, these hospitals may render such services on an optional basis. For poor patients, such services shall be fully covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) 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 indigent/sponsored beneficiary wishes to space her next pregnancy, PhilHealth shall pay for the full cost of family planning.

SEC. 8. Maternal and Newborn Healthcare in Crisis Situations. – The LGUs and the DOH shall ensure that a Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for reproductive health, including maternal and neonatal healthcare kits and services as defined by the DOH, will be given proper attention in crisis situations such as disasters and humanitarian crises. The 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 deliveries, pregnancy complications, miscarriage and post-abortion complications, spread of HIV and STIs and sexual and gender-based violence, and have a system of referral for complicated deliveries.

SEC. 9. Maternal Death Review. – All LGUs, national and local government hospitals, and other public health units shall conduct annual maternal death review in accordance with the guidelines 1 set by the DOH to determine the exact reasons for natural deaths such as lack of medical professionals like doctors, nurses and midwives.

SEC. 10. Role of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). – The FDA shall determine the safety, efficacy and classification of products and supplies for modern family planning methods which do not prevent the implantation of the fertilized ovum in the uterus prior to their distribution, procurement, sale and use.

The FDA shall update the Philippine National Drug Formulary (PNDF) with respect to the aforesaid products and supplies in accordance with standard medical practice.

SEC. 11. Procurement and Distribution of Family Planning Supplies. – Subject to the provisions of Republic Act No. 4729 and Republic Act No. 5921, the DOH shall spearhead the efficient procurement, distribution to LGUs and usage-monitoring of family planning supplies for the whole country covering poor households identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization. The DOH shall coordinate with all appropriate LGUs to plan and implement this procurement and distribution program. The supply and the budget allotment shall be based on, among others, the current level 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 Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Component in Anti-Poverty Programs. – A multidimensional approach shall be adopted in the implementation of policies and programs to fight poverty. Towards this end, the DOH shall implement programs that ensure full access of poor and marginalized women as identified through the 1 NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization to reproductive healthcare, services, products and programs. 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. Provided, however, That the LGUs shall recognize and respect the tenets or teachings of the religion to which such families belong. The role of Population Officers at the municipal, city and barangay levels in the family planning effort shall be strengthened. The Barangay Health Workers and volunteers shall be capacitated to help implement this Act.

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, and menopausal and post-menopausal-related conditions shall be given the maximum benefits as provided by PhilHealth programs.

SEC. 15. Mobile Healthcare Service. – Each congressional district maybe provided with at least one (1) Mobile Healthcare Service (MHCS) in the form of a van or other means of transportation appropriate to coastal or mountainous areas, the procurement and operation of which shall be funded by the national government. The MHCS shall deliver healthcare, supplies and services to constituents, such as those relating to prenatal and delivery needs more particularly to the poor and needy, and shall be used to disseminate knowledge and information on reproductive health. The operation and maintenance of the MHCS shall be done by skilled health providers and adequately equipped with a wide range of reproductive healthcare materials and information dissemination devices and equipment, the latter 1 including, but not limited to, a television set for audiovisual 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. – Subject to the provisions of Section 12, Article II of theConstitution, age-appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education shall be taught by adequately trained and accredited teachers in formal and nonformal education system starting from Grade Six up to Fourth Year HighSchool using life skills and other approaches. The 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 and accreditation of concerned teachers. Only duly accredited teachers shall handle reproductive health and sexuality education. The DepED, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the DSWD and the 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 programs, and Alternative Learning System (ASL) based on, but not limited to, psychosocial and physical well-being, demography, reproductive health, and the legal aspects of reproductive health with due deference to the religion, culture and ethics of various communities.

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 with due regard to their religion and other affiliations;
(b) Knowledge and skills in self-protection against discrimination, sexual violence and abuse, and teen pregnancy;
(c) Physical, social and emotional changes 1 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;
(l) Responsible parenthood; and
(m) Proper and responsible sexual values and behavior; delayed entry into sexual relations; abstinence before marriage; avoidance of multiple sexual partners; and prevention of the spread of sexuality transmitted diseases.

The DepED, CHED, DSWD, TESDA and the DOH shall provide concerned parents with adequate and relevant scientific materials on the age appropriate topics and manner of teaching reproductive health and sexuality education to their children.

Parents, upon due notification by the DepED and private educational institutions, through their principals, in writing, two (2) weeks before the classes would start, shall be informed of the option of the parents of not allowing their minor children to attend classes pertaining to reproductive health and sexuality education. The parents shall then exercise said option. Flexibility in the curriculum of reproductive health and sexuality education shall be accorded to sectarian schools within the provisions and parameters of this section.

SEC. 17. Additional Duty of the Local Population Officer. – Each local population officer shall be duly accredited and be qualified of every city and municipality shall furnish free instructions and information on responsible parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding, infant nutrition 1 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 responsible parenthood, family planning, 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 instill responsible parenthood and reproductive health shall receive at least ten percent (10%) increase in honoraria, upon successful completion of training.

SEC. 20. Pro Bono Services for Indigent Women. – Private and nongovernment reproductive healthcare service providers including, but not limited to, gynecologists and obstetricians, are mandated to provide at least forty-eight (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 as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization, especially to pregnant adolescents. The forty-eight (48) hours annual pro bono services shall be included as a prerequisite in the accreditation under the Philhealth.

SEC. 21. Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). – The cities and municipalities must ensure that barriers to reproductive health services for PWDs 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 1 other places where reproductive health services are provided;

(b) Adapting examination tables and other laboratory procedures to the needs and conditions of PWDs;

(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 PWDs among healthcare 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 PWDs.

SEC. 22. Right to Reproductive Healthcare Information. – The government shall guarantee the right of any person to provide or receive non-fraudulent information about the availability of reproductive healthcare services, including family planning, and prenatal and postnatal and gynecological care particularly in poor households as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization. The DOH and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) shall initiate and sustain a heightened nationwide multimedia 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. 23. 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 among poor households as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization and shall integrate in their regular operations the following functions:

(a) Ensure full and efficient implementation of 1 the Reproductive Healthcare 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 healthcare service providers are adequately trained for such reproductive healthcare 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 NGOs and the private sector in reproductive healthcare 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 the LGUs with appropriate information and resources to keep them updated on current studies and researches relating to responsible parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding and infant nutrition; and

(i) Perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes of this Act.

The Commission on Population (POPCOM), as an attached agency of the DOH, shall serve as the coordinating body in the implementation of Sections 7, 10, 11, 13, 17, 19, 21 and 23 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 which does not include population control, 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 healthcare, 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. 24. 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 (HOR). 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 1 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. 25. Congressional Oversight Committee (COC). – There is hereby created a COC composed of five (5) members, each from the Senate and the HOR. The members from the Senate and the HOR shall be appointed by the Senate President and the Speaker, respectively, with at least one (1) member representing the Minority.

The COC shall be jointly chaired by the respective Chairs of the Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Population and Family Relations of the HOR. The Secretariat of the COC shall come from the existing Secretariat personnel of the Senate and of the HOR committees concerned.

The COC shall monitor and automatically review to ensure the effective implementation of this Act, determine the possible weakness in the law, recommend the necessary remedial legislation or administrative measures and perform such other duties and functions as may be necessary to attain the objectives of this Act every five (5) years from its effectivity.

SEC. 26. 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, 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 1 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 consent or authorization of the following persons in the following instances:

(a) Spousal consent in case of married persons: Provided, That, in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail; and
(b) Parental consent or that of the person exercising parental authority in the case of abused minors, where the parent or the person exercising parental authority is the respondent, accused or convicted perpetrator as certified by the proper prosecutorial office or the court; and

(3) Refuse to extend healthcare services and information on account of the person’s marital status, gender, age, religion, personal circumstances or nature of work: Provided, That the objection of a healthcare service provider based on his/her ethical or religious beliefs shall be respected; however, he/she shall, without in anyway agreeing or endorsing the family planning service or procedure required by the person concerned, 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 under Republic Act No. 8344, otherwise known as “An Act 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 charged with the duty to implement the provisions of this Act, who personally or through a subordinate, prohibits or restricts the delivery of legal and medically safe reproductive healthcare services, including family planning, or forces, coerces or induces 1 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 18 of this Act; and

(e) Any pharmaceutical company, whether domestic or multinational, or its agents or distributors, which (1) shall collude with government officials, whether appointed or elected, in the distribution, procurement and/or sale by the national government and LGUs of modern family planning supplies, products and devices; and/or (2) contribute money or anything of value to partisan political activities involving a government official, whether appointed or elected, and/or any candidate for any elective position, whether national or local.

SEC. 27. 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 pesos (P10,000.00) to Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00), 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. If the offender is a pharmaceutical company, its agent and/or distributor, their license or permit to operate or conduct business in the Philippines shall be perpetually revoked, and a fine triple the 1 amount involved in the violation shall be imposed.

SEC. 28. Appropriations. – The amounts appropriated in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) for Family Health and Responsible Parenting under the DOH and POPCOM, upon the effectivity of this Act, 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 and obstetric care and comprehensive emergency and obstetric care standards; train and deploy skilled health providers; procure family planning supplies and commodities as provided in Section 6; and implement other reproductive health services shall be included in the subsequent GAA.

SEC. 29. Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). – 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 the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the DOLE and the DSWD, the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Commissioner of CHED, the Executive Director of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and two (2) NGOs or peoples’ organizations (POs) for women. Full dissemination of the IRR to the public shall be ensured.

SEC. 30. Separability Clause. – If any part or provision of this Act is held invalid or unconstitutional, the other provisions not affected thereby shall remain in force and effect.

SEC. 31. 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. 32. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen 1 (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

Approved,

O

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2 Comments on "Reproductive Health Bill (House Bill 4244) as approved on Second Reading 12th December 2012"

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butch cruz
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Can anyone tell me why Section 4 Article 3 needs to be in the law? Common sense dictates that if a couple does not want to have children, they should not engage in indiscriminate sex. If they are too oversexed to bother with abstaining or using birth control devices, why should other people be required to pay for the consequences?

Denica Malik
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GRABE! ANG HABA. SAYANG SA INK. XD