Calling the budget cut “anti-youth”, Commissioner Perci Cendaña of the National Youth Commission (NYC) expressed grave concern over the massive slash on the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) for the procurement of family planning commodities by the Bicameral Conference Committee.
After an 18-year struggle to pass into law, NYC hailed the enactment of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Act in 2012 as a victory for the Filipino youth and advocated for its full implementation and constitutionality in 2014. The Youth Commission believes that the Law is an important investment for the future of young Filipinos. “It is not only a social justice and health legislation but a youth development and empowerment measure as well,” said Commissioner Perci.
The appropriate allocation of resources to fully implement the RPRH Law will significantly help address the increasing incidence of early pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections including HIV among young people. Every day, 600 young women 19 years and below give birth and 17 young people 15 to 34 years old test positive for HIV in the country. Philippines has the highest rate of increase in teen pregnancy among Southeast Asian countries and the second highest rate of HIV infection in the whole of Asia.
The budget cut goes against the drive to prevent early pregnancy and contain the HIV AIDS epidemic. Commissioner Perci said that by jeopardizing the effectivity of the RPRH Law, the cut aggravates the already complicated RH youth situation in the country and compromises the future of the Filipino youth.
“Nalulungkot kami sa nangyaring pagtapyas sa budget para sa ganap na implementasyon ng batas. Isa itong pagtalikod sa kalusugan at kapakanan ng kabataan,” stated Commissioner Perci.