What You Need to Know About the State of Reproductive Health in the Philippines
It's easy to dismiss the ongoing issue about the TRO on birth control if you're not actually using contraceptives. But if you read through this list of things you need to know about the state of reproductive health in the Philippines, you'll realize that this issue affects you more than you think.
- The RH Law is here to protect you, your body, and your choice and control over it.
The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 was the first step to a better reproductive health care system in the country. In the National Policy enacted on December 21, 2012, it reads "The State guarantees universal access to medically-safe, non-abortifacient, effective, legal, affordable, and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies which do not prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and relevant information and education thereon according to the priority needs of women, children and other underprivileged sectors, giving preferential access to those identified through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) and other government measures of identifying marginalization, who shall be voluntary beneficiaries of reproductive health care, services and supplies for free." No one is forcing you to use birth control pills or contraceptive implants especially if it goes against what you believe in. But the fact is, we're talking about your body and you have every right to control what you do with it. This law is meant to protect you: "Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of reproductive health and population and development."CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended VideosADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
- Ten percent of the country's population are young women—and one in ten has already given birth.
And while the RH Law supposedly guarantees universal access to all methods of modern contraception, sex education, and maternal and child care, it has been met with a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) for its full implementation. Not to mention, budget cuts that made it impossible for the Department of Health (DOH) to fund government health centers supplying communities with free condoms and birth control as well as sex education. The country's population is currently at 100.7 million, with one in ten of young women aged 15-19 has begun giving birth according to a National Demographic and Health Survey done in 2013. According to the UN Population Fund, the Philippines is the only country in Asia where teen pregnancy is still rising. Perci Cendana of the National Youth Commission says, "TheTRO spells double jeopardy for teens."
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- Birth control implants are covered in the TRO issued by the Supreme Court.
In June 2015, the Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines issued a TRO to the DOH to stop "procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing or administering, advertising, and promoting the hormonal contraceptive Implanon and Implanon NXT." So what does this mean? These contraceptive implants, which are proven to be 99% effective and lasts up to 3 years will no longer be administered by government health agencies.
- "The TRO should be lifted now if we have to avert an impending national health crisis."
According to DOH Commission on Population (POPCOM)'s executive director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, fifteen certificates of birth control registration already expired in 2016 and 10 already expired as of May this year. If the TRO is not lifted, it's possible that by 2020, there will be no available contraceptives in the market. Over 300,000 people have signed a petition to lift the TRO and it has been submitted to the SC in hopes that there’s still a chance the TRO will be lifted. Dr. Perez also warns, "Unsafe induced abortions may also rise without a family planning program in place."ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
- Even the President's Executive Order might not be able to help.
In an Executive Order that President Rodrigo Duterte signed in December 2016, he ordered three major agencies, the DOH, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and POPCOM "to assist local governments in implementing the RPRH Law by mapping out and identifying women who have a need for family planning." But even if the President has pushed for this, what will these agencies work with if the contraceptives are no longer available?
- FDA, the ball's in your court now.
Unfortunately, on May 26 of this year, the SC has affirmed the TRO, which it says cannot be lifted "prior to the summary hearing to be conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the safety, efficacy, purity, quality, and non-abortiveness of the contraceptives." The court clarified that the TRO "only prevented the DOH from registering, recertifying, procuring, and administering Implanon and Implanon NXT—contraceptives being contested by the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc."ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
So what's next? Until the FDA proves and recertifies specific drugs as non-abortifacient, only then is there even a chance for the TRO to be lifted. What can you do?
Grrrl Gang Manila has begun the #PinayTakeAction campaign inspired by the global Women’s March, a worldwide protest to fight for the rights of women everywhere. In the next 100 days, there will be 10 actions geared towards making sure that Filipinas have reproductive health care and control over our bodies. First on the list? Lifting the TRO within parameters that are legal, just, and scientific. Are you with us?
What're you up to today? Submit your OOTD, fanfic, essay, school project, org event, a pic of your latest hobby, or anything you want to be posted on the Candy Bulletin page!
"Today, I Won"
I always caught feelings for someone, and hoped so much that one day there could a thing between the two of us. I'm usually the one that makes the effort to buy and/or make cute gifts, chats them every other day, and stays up all night with him.
When I was 16, my childhood crush suddenly came back into my life. We'd constantly send updates to each other, recommend favorite songs and talk even the most random things. He'd even text me as early as 6 to just greet me good morning almost everyday. I hoped so much that when I confessed, he suddenly stopped talking to me.
For short, he ghosted me. Those 6 months I spent talking to him, allotting my time for him, and staying up until 3 am for him - all gone in a simple confession. Although I had a few crushes before him, he's the only one that got me in real pain. It was the kind of pain that I never thought I'd experience. It was the kind of pain that I couldn't believe.
After 7 years (it happened back in 2017), I thought he came back into my life to stay, but I guess he's just one of the guys who distanced. I felt a complete loser that time. But during this quarantine, everything was different. I caught feelings for someone else, but he treated me with the best kindness yet.
It happened at 2 am, May 30, 2020, when I impulsively confessed my feelings through messaging him. After saying my feelings, he responded with genuine and kind words. We both even complimented each other. Although the feelings didn't reciprocate, I still found a connection that can't be replaced with any guy.
To my 16 year old self, here I am, 18 and happy. You may have felt that time was the biggest regret and loss, but I'm here to tell you, we won. Today, I won.
Why our high school barkada is the best?
Remembering our high school years entails quite a lot reminiscing of the things we all been through when we were younger. You’ve experience a lot of new things during those 4 wonderful years and did most of them with the few people you consider your barkada. And through a series of all the lunch breaks you had together, the walks you took on the way home, and taking the same classes, you never thought you’d survive, you have made your life’s greatest friends.
Here are some of the reasons why your high school barkada is the best:
1. You figured out early teenage life together. The transition one have undergone from being a kid to a teenager wasn’t easy. For a moment you are not sure whether you should have played with your friends during recess or you should have just sat down and ate your food because you were too old for games. But whatever it is you chose to do, having friends who were as clueless as you make everything feel easier because you know, deep down, you’d figure things out eventually. You just need good company.
2. They were with you during your “jeje“ days. I bet you have pictures taken with Camera360 and Retrica. You also have pictures edited using Pizap with embarrassing captions and you somehow kept some of them so you could have something to post online during their birthdays.
3. They know all your exes. They will never EVER forget the name of an ex-boyfriend, an ex-fling, an ex-crush, and an almost you had. They will remind you of your every questionable love decision but you’ll just laugh anyway while saying “Past is past”.
4. They never judge you. They have welcomed you to their lives when you thought jelly shoes and checkered polos were the bomb! They were quick to have told your teachers that you were not feeling well so you could go home when you really just needed to poop. You tell them every embarrassing story you have and were fine with it.
5. You can always count on them. From the moment you first fell in love and the moment you first had your heart broken, they were with you. They were with you the moment you lost a parent and at moments when you thought you had nothing. Through every break-up and breakthrough, they were there to be your support system.
6. They are your family. Your high school friend’s family is your own family’s extension. Their parents are like your own. Don’t you feel a little kilig whenever your friend’s parents call you “anak”? And then eventually calling them mama and papa became so natural? I felt that, all the time.
7. They will always be your home. They are your place of refuge and security, the place who offers you their hands when you feel lost and the place you run to when you need saving. No matter how much time and distance separate you, they will be the one’s that you always long for and they are the one’s that you will always return to.
You're gonna bend and break and then at some point in your life, you feel like you don't want to fall in love again.
Not because you're no longer capable of loving but because you're so afraid to get hurt again that you don't want to take a risk anymore. And you're gonna wake up one day and realize that you're not the same person as you were yesterday. The heart aches, heartbreaks, frustration, you'll see, those will transform your whole being into something better.
Honey, move forward. Let go off all the things that are not meant for you. Let go of all the people who hurt you and take you for granted. Don't be stuck feeling miserable.
And don't turn that love into hate when you resent someone for hurting you or for breaking your heart. Just wish them well and let them go. Welcome the possibility of a beautiful love that will come your way. You're worthy of love that you keep on giving to other people. Keep that in mind.
I wish you well and all the happiness. You deserve it.
Here we are — with rough hands entwined, damned hearts at peace, broken souls resting with ease —savoring each passing moment before we part ways...hoping things will turn out to be okay. Here we are — standing still, keeping our earnest desire and ardent passion for each other at bay — hoping the Universe will finally grant us of the day that we no longer have to pretend... that things will no longer have to end.
Here we are — with crooked smiles, lingering touch that will last for a while -- gathering all the remaining courage to set each other free. Wishing for the day that our hearts will no longer have to worry. Here we are letting each other go. Even though we both know that the future is uncertain. Even though we're unsure if our paths will cross once again.