The good news: Pres. Duterte created Executive Order 12 which mandates that the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, otherwise known as the RH Bill, should be implemented in full effect.
Since being signed into law by Pres. Aquino in 2012, the RH Bill has suffered from setbacks such as defunding and a Supreme Court TRO on the clause about contraceptives. Pres. Duterte’s new EO instructs the budget committee to “realign and augment appropriations” so the RH Bill can be positioned to “attain and sustain the zero unmet need for ‘modern family planning’ by 2018 for poor families.” Aside from contraceptives, the RH Bill also rules the universal availability of sex education and the accessibility of maternal care.
The not-so-good news: Catholic bishops believe that Pres. Duterte should respect the TRO on contraceptives as the said ruling “aims to respect for human life even from its beginning in the womb of the mother.”
What we think: Pres. Duterte hasn’t been topping our favorite persons lists because of his flip-flopping opinions and his questionable decisions but this one is something we can back him up on. From doling out misogynistic remarks to now supporting longer maternal leave and bolstering the RH Bill, this is quite a turnaround. As for the Catholic Church, perhaps they can reconsider how protecting life also involves understanding that access to contraceptives helps more people and still promotes a healthy way of family planning and child-rearing.