MANILA, Philippines - Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Friday said a substitute version of the Reproductive Health Bill will still need P3 billion in funds for its implementation.
“There is no specific provision in the new version like in the old version but we reckon an initial amount of P3 billion would be needed for the new RH bill, which is a small amount compared to the mega-projects of government,” he said in an ANC Headstart interview.
Lagman, one of the authors of the RH bill, said his original version had no specific appropriation for its programs. He noted that subsequent funding will have to be included in the General Appropriations Act.
“What we said there is what remains for appropriation for public health in the Department of Health and Population Commission will be the initial amount to be used in the implementation of the bill,” he said.
The congressman said more than 50% of the RH Bill budget will go to education of the public, particularly parents, couples and women, on the benefits of family planning so that they can exercise freedom of choice.
He said the major difference between the old and new bill is that the new version ensures that reproductive health measures supported by the State do “not prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum.”
He said the new version also eliminated a portion on contraceptives as “essential medicines.”
“We can agree that essential medicines for contraceptives should not be legislated but determined by the Food and Drug Administration,” he said.
Lagman said the new version of the RH Bill is the result of a continuing dialogue between proponents of the bill and critics. “It’s definitely getting more support because we have addressed concerns, reservations and objections of critics,” he said.