President Rodrigo Duterte wants the full implementation of the reproductive health (RH) law, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Thursday.
Abella issued the statement in response to Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who said that the high court has never barred the implementation of the law after Duterte criticized the issuance of a stay order against two contraceptives.
Abella said Implanon and Implanon NXT had been given a certification from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) as non-abortifacient.
"However, due to opposing claim, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) asking FDA to undertake another process of re-certification," he said. "This TRO against the two specific artificial birth control implants adversely affected their distribution resulting in limited availability of artificial contraceptives and, as mentioned by the President, wastage."
"On the other hand, artificial contraceptives which are currently available in the market are facing certificate of product registration (CPR) expiration. The re-certification process of contraceptives already in the market is also compromised due to the SC decision that additional processes imposed will lengthen it and thus will result in non-availability of certain family planning commodities, which resulted in the President's adverse reaction on the matter," Abella said.
Sereno, in a statement, said the SC issued a TRO only for a specific provision of the RH law: the distribution of Implanon and Implanon NXT.
The TRO prohibits the Department of Health to procure, sell, distributve, administer, advertise and promote the hormonal contraceptive “Implanon” and “Implanon NXT” which have been certified by the Food and Drug Administration to have "abortifacient character.”
Duterte said he has ordered Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial to donate soon-to-expire contraceptives to another country rather than let these go to waste.