How does this government even expect the citizenry to be law-abiding?
“Mr. President, I understand lalabas daw yung FDA certification first week of December,” Guingona said.
But Sotto pressed for a categorical answer from the DOH.
The session was temporarily suspended and when it resumed, Guingona reiterated that the FDA certification would come out on the first week of December.
“So perhaps we can make that a part of the budget, or part of the records of the Senate for the budget of the DOH . That if we don’t get the certification, we remove the entire budget for those commodities that can’t be certified by the FDA, ” Sotto said.
As early as three days after the SC decision, RH Law advocate Risa Hontiveros boasted that the RH law guarantees government provision of contraceptives.
A mere two months after the SC decision, the Department of Health aired this ad on national TV:
And on July 15, Undersecretary of DOH Janette Garin reported that contraceptive patches are already being offered to teenage moms.
On August 19, Inquirer published a letter from Rosie Luistro of the Alliance for the Family Foundation (ALFI) asking if the Department of Health is ignoring the SC Decision. She has yet to receive an answer.
An August 20 article in Manila Bulletin reports that the DOH has budgeted for 600,000 women to receive the implants, but says:
But the DOH has to wait for the Food and Drugs Administration’s (FDA) resolution certifying that the implant is not abortifacient, in compliance to RA 10354 (Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012).
Finally, in late August 2014, the FDA issued an invitation on their website, which they have since scrubbed. “All concerned are hereby invited to give their written comments to said applications on or before 08 October 2014.”
Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza, warned against the FDA/DOH railroading of RH in September and his warning does not seem to be unwarranted, as evidenced by a September 27 Facebook posting from Roeweh Shauf, inviting people to come to the Brgy. Calamba Health Center to receive implants, despite the fact that implants have yet to be re-certified.
Note that it is addressed to Lorna Melegrito, Executive Director of Pro-Life Philippines, while the salutation is addressed to Filipinos for Life President, Anthony James Perez. No separate acknowledgment was received at the address provided by Filipinos for Life. Saving stationery, perhaps?
The FDA response certainly did not follow RA6713 by a mile. Section 3 of Rule VI of its implementing rules says:
Section 3. In case of written requests, petitions or motions, sent by means of letters, telegrams, or the like, the official or employee in charge shall act on the same within fifteen (15) working days from receipt thereof, provided that:
(b) If the communication is within the jurisdiction of the office or agency, the official and employee must:
(1) Write a note or letter of acknowledgement where the matter is merely routinary or the action desired may be acted upon in the ordinary course of business of the department, office or agency, specifying the date when the matter will be disposed of and the name of the official or employee in charge thereof.
(2) Where the matter is non-routinary or the issues involved are not simple or ordinary, write a note or letter of acknowledgement, informing the interested party, petitioner or correspondent of the action to be taken or when such requests, petitions or motions can be acted upon. Where there is a need to submit additional information, requirements, or documents, the note or letter of acknowledgement shall so state, specifying a reasonable period of time within which they should be submitted, and the name of the particular official or employee in charge thereof. When all the documents or requirements have been submitted to the satisfaction of the department or office or agency concerned, the particular official or employee in charge shall inform the interested party, petitioner, or correspondent of the action to be taken and when such action or disposition can be expected, barring unforeseen circumstances.
(c) If communication is outside its jurisdiction, the official or employee must:
(1) Refer the letter, petition, telegram, or verbal request to the proper department, office or agency.
(2) Acknowledge the communication by means of a note or letter, informing the interested party, petitioner, correspondent of the action taken and attaching a copy of the letter of the letter of referral to the proper department, office or agency.
The department, office or agency to which the letter, petition, telegram or verbal request was referred for appropriate action must take action in accordance with subsection (a), pars. 1 and 2 hereof.
Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health have blatantly ignored the petitions opposing the re-certification of specific contraceptives, which they are mandated to settle before proceeding. No proof has been provided to counter claims from pro-life groups. As per the Supreme Court mandate, there should be no budget inclusion for RH if the IRR has not been complied with.