Filipinos urge SC to lift TRO on Contraceptives

Wary of the impact of the TRO, more than 300,000 women signed a petition urging the Supreme Court to lift the existing TRO on the distribution, dispensing, and promotion of subdermal implants and on certification and recertification of family planning (FP) commodities.  More than a hundred of women and men mostly coming from urban poor communities went to the Supreme Court to submit the signed petition.

In June 2015,  the SC issued a TRO to DOH and its agents to “temporarily” stop “procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing or administering, advertising and promoting the hormonal contraceptive Implanon and Implanon NXT.”  The TRO escalated to prohibiting the DOH and the FDA from registering and recertifying contraceptives in the subsequent SC decision in August 2015.

As a result, fifteen certificates of product registration expired last 2016 while 10 expired as of May this year, leaving only 23 contraceptives available for the public. By 2020, no contraceptives can be procured from the market.  As such,  CPR expirations will effectively lead to a total phaseout of FP commodities in the market before 2020. Without FP commodities, the Philippines’ national Family Planning program will effectively be put to a halt.

As part of a signature campaign led by the civil society organizations, over 300 thousand individual Filipino women, couples and their families and friends from across the regions of the country had signed a multisectoral petition to urge the High Court to lift the TRO that is now going two years in effect.  The petition is submitted today to the SC by more than a hundred urban poor women and men who are more likely to be affected by the TRO.

The lifting of the TRO will also pave the way for the full implementation of the 2012 Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Act that has been deemed by CSOs and the population and development sector as dysfunctional for five years.

The RPRH Law guarantees universal access to all methods of modern contraception, comprehensive sexuality education, and maternal and child care.

With the TRO in place, unintended pregnancies may rise which may result to induced abortion and maternal deaths.

This may also result to increase in population which has been expressed by Filipinos as a major national concern through the Pulse Asia Research’s Ulat ng Bayan in March 2017.

 “The TRO should be lifted now if we have to avert an impending national health crisis.”  Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, Executive Director of Commission on Population, said.  “Unsafe induced abortions may also rise without an FP program in place.”


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