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Lagman urges higher family planning budget

The need to increase the budget allocation for family planning supplies and devices has become more urgent now that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared 51 contraceptives "non-abortifacient" or not causing abortion, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said Monday.

In a statement, Lagman argued that the 2018 proposed budget for family planning commodities that the House of Representatives gave under the General Appropriations Bill only amounted to about P342 million.

This, in light of the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court in June 2015 preventing the Department of Health from selling or distributing certain abortifacient contraceptives including implanon and implanon NXT.

But the FDA, in an advisory issued on Friday, said it has recertified as non-abortifacient all 51 contraceptives, including implanon and implanon NXT and the copper intrauterine device.

"The recertification of the 51 contraceptive products as non-abortifacient signals the automatic lifting of the TRO and the need for additional appropriations for family planning supplies and devices because there are more contraceptives to procure for free distribution to marginalized acceptors," Lagman said.

Lagman suggested that the Senate introduce the needed increase in the budget for family planning commodities when it resumes session next week.

Alternatively, the augmentation can be made by the bicameral conference committee on the GAB expected to convene by end of November o early December, he added.

Malacañang has likewise expected the TRO on the contraceptives tagged as abortifacients to be lifted for the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law. —ALG, GMA News