Bagong Simula sa Bayan ni Juan

Breaking News

For other news and information, scroll the links found on the sidebar. Links to other relevant sites and media blogs are located on the lower right portion. - RAFS76

Thursday, November 08, 2007

House allots P2 billion for birth control in ’08 budget

Jess Diaz / Wednesday, November 7, 2007 / Philippine Star

For the first time in the post-martial law Congress, the House of Representatives is taking the initiative to confront rapid population growth by setting aside P2 billion, contrary to what was earlier reported as only P1 billion, in the 2008 budget for birth control.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, chairman of the House appropriations committee, said yesterday it’s time the government tackled the burgeoning population problem.

He said his committee is increasing the amount of funds for population management in next year’s budget from P180 million to P2 billion.

He said the increase “will help contain the inordinately high annual population growth rate of 2.36 percent, as reported by the National Statistics Office, which impacts adversely on the principal indicators of human development like health care, quality education, food security, employment, mass housing and the environment.”

He added that the funds would be used for the conduct of nationwide educational campaign and seminars on birth control, and for the procurement of “modern natural and artificial reproductive health products.”

“Both the traditional and non-traditional, as well as the modern natural and artificial family planning methods, which are medically and legally permissible, will be promoted without any bias for any mode,” Lagman stressed.

He said couples and women would be free to choose the family planning methods best suited to their individual needs, personal convictions and religious beliefs.

He lamented that the government has dilly-dallied on tackling the population problem, which he said is weighing down the nation’s capacity for faster economic and human development.

The funds for population management would be made available to the Department of Health, whose budget would be increased by 74 percent from P12.1 billion this year to P21 billion next year.

The increase also includes P390 million as subsidy for the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center and Philippine Children’s Medical Center, and an additional P467 million for the Philippine General Hospital.

At the same time, Lagman’s committee allocated P800 million for the treatment of indigent patients and P720 million for an anti-tuberculosis (TB) campaign.

Lagman said he received reports that many public schools teachers and non-teaching personnel are afflicted with TB.

He said the increase in the health budget is matched by a similar augmentation in the education sector, which will receive an additional P6.4 billion, bringing its total allocation next year to P151.2 billion.