Gov't lauded for new family planning budget
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (26 April) -- Family planning advocates lauded the government for the P150 million approved allocation for artificial family planning.
The funds under the 2007 General Appropriations Act are in the Department of Health's P11.4-billion budget for the year.
Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation (PLCPD) program manager Kalayaan Pulido-Constantino said that the budget's approval was a positive result after long years of lobbying for an increased budget in the Congress.
The new budget poured in P150 million for artificial family planning and P1 million for natural family planning.
Senator Ralph Recto pushed for its approval after learning that nine in 10 Filipinos favoring modern family planning methods.
"Artificial beats natural 150 to 1. That's what the budget says. This should silence critics that the government is not spending a single centavo for modern family planning programs. Family planning has not been sterilized," according to Senator Ralph Recto.
To further underscore the primacy of family planning over other programs in the 2007 DoH budget, Recto said tuberculosis control has an allocation of P154 million, less than what has been earmarked for population programs.
However, FP advocates bared that the said budget for artificial family planning may still not go directly to the purchase of artificial methods like pills and condoms since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called for the usage of the funds in promoting responsible parenthood instead.
"There is still a big possibility that this budget will go to natural family planning," she said.
Constantino claimed that the money intended for the people would usually not reach the barangay health centers.
"We should still remain vigilant in making sure that this fund will benefit all Filipinos."
Recent survey showed that nine out of 10 Filipinos want the government to allocate funds for modern methods of family planning including the pill, intra-uterine devices (IUD), condoms, ligation and vasectomy. (PIA XI) [top]