Senator balks at Ayala Alabang move on condoms

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2011 08:37 PM | Updated as of Mar 01 2011 07:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Pia Cayetano on Monday said members of the Ayala Alabang village council should have consulted the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) before passing a controversial ordinance that seeks to regulate the sale, promotion, and purchase of condoms and other contraceptives within the barangay’s jurisdiction.

“It is incredulous how the local council of Barangay Ayala Alabang has arrogated to itself the power and responsibility to regulate drugs and devices, and even to determine what’s safe and what’s not,” Cayetano said in a press statement.

“As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, I sponsored the passage in the 14th Congress of Republic Act 9711, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Law, which gave the FDA full powers to regulate food, drugs and other devices, with public health and safety as its foremost concern,” she said.

Cayetano’s committee is overseeing the crafting of the upper chamber’s version of the reproductive health bill.

“I’m not aware of any law or bill authorizing the transfer of power to regulate drugs from the FDA to the barangay. Since time immemorial, that power has been lodged in FDA, which was formerly known as the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD),” she explained.

“This is usurpation of power,” Cayetano, who also resides in Ayala Alabang, said.

She said her village council cannot simply seize the functions and responsibilities vested by law with the FDA by making up its own definition of “abortifacients” to include drugs and medical devices such as hormonal pills, condoms and intra-uterine devices that have been approved and certified as safe and effective by the World Health Organization.

“What the members of the barangay council should have done is to endorse their concerns regarding the efficacy and safety of certain drugs to the proper government authority, in this case the FDA, for the latter’s evaluation and official action.”