“This huge budget cut in Health is a dis-service to the poor,” said Former President Fidel V. Ramos. He also said that the people deserves a legitimate explanation and justification from the members of the Bi-Cameral Committee on why they removed P1B from the budget of the Department of Health that affects the implementation of the RPRH Law.
The 1B decrease was taken from the item on “Purchase and Allocation of Drugs, Medicines and Vaccines (Special Provision 14, RA 10717, Vol. 2-A page 1155) of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2016. “This budget cut will now affect the ability of the Department of Health to provide life saving services that benefits the poor. This deplorable future for thousands of Filipino mother and infants can be remedied by a supplemental budget by the 16th Congress and/or a more generous budget for RH by the next President and the 17thCongress”, Ramos added.
“The budget is enacted to meet needs of the country and people. Always, our budget has preference to serve the poor particularly in direct-service oriented departments like the DOH, DepED or DSWD,” Benjamin de Leon, President of Forum for FP and Development, is among the NGOs who fought for the passage of the RPRH Law.
According to de Leon, to remove a huge budget from a direct-service branch of government is tantamount to reducing and limiting access to health services of the poor who are the biggest users and recipients of public services. “The rich is unaffected because they could always afford the kind of services they need and want. The poor is hardest hit by this move that clearly lacks good judgment and better decision making.” De Leon added.
Secretary Janette Garin of the Department of Health said in interviews that the budget cut targeted the provision of family planning services because there is no allocation for it in the GAA.
Former President Ramos also added that, “If indeed, no allocation was provided for family planning services, the government will be in violation of the reproductive health rights of Filipinos under the RPRH Law which clearly indicates that the government must provide free family planning services to those who want it. We all know that it is the poor who need and demand FP services.” Ramos is also an Eminent Person on Forum for FP and Development, Inc.