A New York-based international human rights group assailed the Philippine government for what it referred to as a “serious step backward” with the proposed budget cut on contraceptives in the 2016 national budget.
In a statement sent to the media, Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director, said the budget cut would go against the Philippine government’s obligation to protect maternal health, reduce infant mortality, and prevent the spread of HIV.
Kine, citing a study from Guttmacher Institute, said that half of the pregnancies here in the Philippines are unintended and is due to the lack of availability of modern contraceptive services.
“The budget cut threatens to roll back hard-fought gains in maternal health and reductions in infant mortality over the past decade made possible by government-subsidized or free contraceptive services,” Kine said.
The rights group said access to condoms and related HIV prevention services is part of the right to the highest attainable standard of health. It reminded the Philippine government that as a signatory to the International Convent on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, it is obliged to take necessary steps, treatment and control of epidemic diseases including sexually transmitted diseases.
In 2012, the Aquino administration passed the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law.
Kine urged Aquino to “press Congress to immediately restore those funds or be held accountable for the suffering that their ill-conceived actions incur.”