"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Ofelia Castro Hudson a Human Trafficker or victim of Frame-Up?

One of the social cancers affecting our labor force and people are the activities of ILLEGAL RECRUITERS AND ILLICIT HUMAN TRAFFICKERS in our midst. They are not only physically violent to their victims at times, they are always spiritually destructive of their human prey. These MODERN SLAVE TRADERS must be purged with finality wherever they may be found. And it is this light that we ought to support our government on all its initiatives to control if not put an end to this socio-economic evil.

But there is something equally abhorrent and repulsive as these modern slave traders and it arises when those who are lawfully tasked to eradicate illegal recruitment and illicit human trafficking become OPPRESSIVE and ARROGANT THEMSELVES, ignoring the fundamental rights of people to due process and fair play, in carrying out their statutory mandate to purge these evils.

When this happens, the ennobling purpose of a laudable governmental agency is obscured and what comes out is another OGRE in our midst, equally vicious than the criminal enterprise it seeks to eliminate though more odious than the first because it is now coated with the veneer of a law. To my mind, how the recently revived PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON ANTI-ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT, through its co-chair and current Secretary of Labor, Rosalinda Baldoz, handled the unverified complaints of some unknown OFWS against Acting Phil. Labor Attaché to Kuwait , MS. OFELIA CASTRO HUDSON, best illustrates this situation.

One need not be a lawyer or even a college graduate to see how UNJUSTLY Ms. Hudson’s affair was handled by PTFAIR.

Consider the following uncontroverted facts:

  1. Sometime on May 5, 2011, the Philippine media came out with sensational reports that UNKNOWN COMPLAINANTS had seen Ms. Hudson accepting money and gifts from employment agencies;
  2. That as a consequence thereof, some OFWs who were seeking refuge at the OWWA halfway house in Kuwait were allegedly forced to work for employers they have not consented to.;
  3. That this act of Ms. Hudson constitute Illicit Human Trafficking,
  4. In reaction to these news items, the PTFAIR , through Secretary of Labor, Rosalinda Baldoz, issued an order recalling Ms. Hudson to the Philippines to ANSWER AND FACE THE CHARGES AGAINST HER AT THE PROPER FORUM at the home office;
  5. This recall order was issued with neither a copy of any of the complaints ever been given to Ms. Hudson nor the identity of any of the alleged complainants revealed to her;
  6. this recall order was arrived at and issued without providing Ms. Hudson any chance to refute any of these allegations;
  7. this recall order, immediately coming out on the heels of the highly sensationalized news item on the alleged involvement of Ms. Hudson on human trafficking, created a pervasive public perception of guilt over the person of Ms. Hudson;
  8. this recall order was issued in total disregard of the 22 years of sterling and faithful record of service to the public rendered by Ms. Hudson;
  9. This recall order clearly ignored Ms. Hudson’s untarnished record for the last 9 years, rendered in the service of our OFWS not only in Jordan but in Kuwait, as well, in view of the fact that except for these unverified and unsubstantiated alleged complaints from some unknown persons, she is yet to face a similar or related complaint then or now,
  10. No less than the current Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait, the Honorable Shulan O. Primavera attests to her high moral standard, as an effective and competent public servant, in the service of our distressed OFW, in his letter of support to Ms. Hudson dated May 14, 2011 to Secretary of labor, Rosalinda Baldoz, requesting for the cancellation of that Recall Order for being unjust and counter-productive of the best interest of our people in Kuwait.
The OFW and other members of the Filipinos in Diaspora or the Overseas Filipino Nation have proven themselves to be one of the great foundations of our national survival amidst decades of corruption in our government and mismanagement of its economic policies. It is for this reason that I fully support the unrelenting fight of our grateful nation to protect and defend the interest and persons of our Overseas Filipino Workers. For that matter alone, I fully agree with our national policy to purge all evils, wherever they are found and whenever legally practicable, that victimize our hapless OFWS. For the same reason, we laud the government of Pres. Aquino for reviving the PTFAIR.

But on the same breath, we CONDEMN THE SUMMARY STYLE conviction of Ms. Ofelia Castro Hudson by way of that Recall Order. She was never given a chance to explain her side on the issue before that recall came out. How could she do so, in the first place? She was neither given nor informed of any of the complaints against her nor was any of the complainants ever presented or revealed to her before her Recall Order was issued. ITO BA ANG “DAANG MATUWID “?

I am fully aware that this iconic battle cry of Pnoy’s administration stands on the primacy in our society of the Rule of Law. But what rule of law are we talking about here when Ms. Hudson was convicted first by the media and in its wake, sustained by no less than the Secretary of Labor and Co –Chair of PTFAIR, Rosalinda Baldoz, when she came out with that recall order? What was the basis of the Recall Order? Was the Recall Order issued after an investigation was conducted on the matter? Who conducted the investigation and how was it conducted? If these questions remain unanswered, it would not be surprising to see the iconic DAANG MATUWID of Pnoy be littered with innocent victims of “summary executions” starting with the carcass of Ms. Ofelia Castro Hudson's honor and unblemished public service record! Are we witnessing the revival of the much hated Rule by Law of the previous administration, where the letter of legal edicts reigned supreme over the spirit and benign intent of the law?

I will not pass judgment on the intention of the complainants whoever they are. I am sure these complainants are ordinary people and good spirited workers from the Philippines but still, our heroes no less. Yet, heroes or not, the minimum requirements of due process and fair play should have been observed, notwithstanding that this is a Presidential Task Force! The veracity of their complaints should have been verified first to determine whether they are frivolous or not. If the preliminary inquiry finds the complaint or complaints to be meritorious, then a copy of which should have been given to Ms. Hudson for her comment and rebuttal. And after which, Ms. Hudson’s should have been ordered to file her comment/answer to the complaint/s she received. With the complaint/s and answer having been filed, we could say at this point that the issues are joined. Then and only then could Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz decide on the issue and come out. if need be, with the Recall Order to Ms. Hudson, directing her to return to Manila to answer before the proper forum a complaint for illegal trafficking or illicit recruitment. Without this preliminary inquiry, how do we know that these complaining OFWS were not mistaken in their perception of the alleged wrong done by Ms. Hudson? Arguably, it is highly possible that these unverified complaints of unknown complainants were irresponsibly reported by our media or even distorted, if only to gain more media mileage for those concerned in view of the fact that the news item is one emotionally laden topic, near and dear to the hearts of OFW all over the world, their families, relatives and friends in the Philippines.

How do we know that these complaints have not been hijacked by unscrupulous and criminal individuals who, because of the lure of easy money, would grab any opportunity to destroy a sincere initiative of the government to protect and defend the interest of our OFW? How do we know that the media were not manipulated regarding these complaints so as to tar or worst, demolish the integrity of dedicated public servants, faithful to the interest and well-being of the OFW and country?

By issuing that Recall Order to Ms. Hudson, without giving her any opportunity to defend herself from the accusations raised against her by some unknown persons, ARE WE NOT TELLING EVERYONE , including those criminal elements, that all they have to do TO NEUTRALIZE, if not eliminate at all, a dedicated public officer, who stands steadfast on the side of the law and the interest of our OFW and who blocks their criminal intentions on our unwary OFWS , is simply to raise a complaint against this public officer and leak the same to the media?

Finally, it appears that this Recall Order would leave the Philippine Consulate WITHOUT three KEY frontline personnel’s who service the needs of our OFW and people at the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait because the recall order of Ms. Hudson coincides with the scheduled departure of the current Labor Attaché and the Welfare officer of the embassy. And as I understand it, these vacancies will occur in the midst of the planned expatriation by the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait of some 200 OFW currently sheltered at FWRC and the processing of more than 6, 000 OFW who wish to avail of the Amnesty Program of the Kuwaiti govt. In the light of the possible exigencies created by these vacancies and the multifaceted tasks expected from the repatriation of several thousands OFW, I could only surmise that the Recall Order could have been prompted only by more compelling evidence and reasons on the guilt of Ms. Hudson. What then could this compelling evidence and reason found by PTFAIR that necessitated the issuance of the subject Recall Order and consequential reduction of key personnels of the Philippine Embassy in KUWAIT EVEN AT A TIME OF A FORSEEN GREAT NEED OF KEY PERSONNEL by the embassy, arising from the forthcoming expatriation of thousands of OFW to the Phillipines? NONE ! WHY ? It is precisely because the Recall Order was issued summarily, without any reasonable prior investigation , and evidently, as a knee jerk reaction to an otherwise popular issue to OFW all over the world and their families, relatives and friends in the Philippines!

I do not know Ms. Ofelia Castro Hudson personally. I only had 3 occasions to interact with her. The first was when I met her for the first time sometime in October 2010, during the introduction of the volunteer lawyers of the Filipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund (FALDEF) to the FILAM community leaders and organizations of the American Eastern Seaboard at the official residence of then Con. Gen. Cecile Rebong in New York City. The second time was when the plight of a certain distressed Filipina OFW, who was working in Kuwait, sought my help last April 26, 2011 upon the advice of a common friend in FB, Susan Rubicon Caro, from Saudi Arabia. This distressed Filipina OFW was complaining about her working conditions and intimated to me that she would like leave her place of work. As this type of problem was alien to the nature of our work at FALDEF, I sought advice from Consul Zaldy Patron of the Philippine Consulate General in New York It was from that meeting with Consul Patron that I remembered Ms. Ofelia Castro Hudson of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait. I contacted Ms. Hudson on April 29, 2011 and on May 4, 2011 and brought fully to her attention the problem of this Filipina in distress from Kuwait. By May 10, 2011, the Filipina in distress was obviously safe and over her nightmares from her problems in Kuwait when she sent a message in FB thanking me for my help. I understand she was repatriated and is now in the Philippines as of this writing. I have records of this event on file.

I have nothing personal against Secretary of Labor and PTFAIR Co-Chair, Rosalinda Baldoz. I do not know her from Adam. What I truly condemn and vehemently detest is the manner the complaint/s against Ms. Ofelia Castro Hudson was handled and treated. It was oppressive, unjust, and unfair and smacks of arrogance. While I am aware that our OFW have been victimized in so many instances by those who ought to be responsible for their well-being and safety as well as by those whom we expect to protect them because of shared aspirations and being in solidarity with their plight, we must equally recognize and should not forget that it was also the untold, selfless dedication and devotion to their duties by the men and women of our consular offices in foreign lands, in the service of our OFW and other members of Oversea Filipino Nation, THAT SOMEHOW ENABLED our OFW to withstand the hardship and endure the sacrifice of working, away from their loved ones, in an alien, distant land with its different clime and culture, including decades of neglect and mistreatment by foreign employers and by their own national government. Needless to say, it is not only fair and just but also RIGHT and PROPER that both, the members of our OFW sector and our consular officers and employees in foreign lands, OUGHT TO BE TREATED with parity or equality under the laws of our grateful nation and people.

And after almost a decade of living under a regime of Rule by Law, we all shouldl know by now that equality or parity of treatment under the laws of the land could only be secured by strict observance, among others, of the right of every person to due process and equal protection of law, whether he/she be a lowly OFW or an Acting Labor Attaché or a mighty Department Secretary and Co-Chair of the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment.

In the interest of justice, a level playing field and that moral defining spirit behind our government’s policy of maintaining a “MATUWID NA DAAN”, PTFAIR should cancel its Recall Order issued through its Co-Chair, Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz of DOLE,for being unfair, unjust and oppressive, and give Ms. Ofelia Castro Hudson, of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait a level playing field. It is simply the right thing to do and the only way for PTFAIR to reclaim its mandate and right to seek and establish the " MATUWID NA DAAN ".

Emerito F. Salud - A lawyer from the Ateneo law School ' 73, a member of the NY Bar since 1994, a FILAM community activist, a radio-commentator of RadioPinoy USA, he is currently the VP for External Affairs, FALDEF and Director for Advocacy of NaFFAA REgion 1. He is also a member of the NJ Chapter-Movement for Free Philippines, founded by the late Senator Raul Manglapus, and a founding member of Kaibigan Inc., based at the Port of Newark, NJ, a support group for Filipino merchant mariners (seamen).

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Some Fil-Am Events



VP Melette Lampino of Philsela invites everyone to "come celebrate with us 1 of our cherished traditions, 'Santacruzan/Flores de Mayo'."

DATE : Saturday, May 21
TIME : 1:30 pm (registration n formation)
Parade will be at 3 - 4 pm.
PLACE: Cerritos Regional Community Park,
19700 bloomfield ave, cerritos, ca 90703.
For more info about the organization, please visit philippinesocietyofsoutheastlosangeles.org
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From Gus Mayol, an invitation for all Mandauehanons and friends to "Come Join us!!! Celebrate the Senor San Jose Fiesta!!!"

DATE : Saturday, May 21
TIME : 3-10:30 pm
PLACE: Buena Park Recreational Hall
8150 N. Knott Avenue
Buena Park, CA 90620
Tel. # (714) 236-3860

FOR MORE INFO, please call:

Merla Suico (818) 505-3029
Lel Damole (626) 960-4218
Ding Santos (213) 384-0474
Gus Mayol (909) 477-7263
Joy Mayol (909) 899-1390
Cesar Mayol (909) 996-1538
All Members: Please bring your favorite dish and a two-liter soda.

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Gil Mislang: "With Memorial Day coming up, I'd like to make you aware of a special gathering of World War II veterans called the Philippine Scouts. These were the heroic men who fought for our freedom against the Japanese Imperial Army who desired to conquer the Philippines. If you'd like to know more about them or pay them tribute please come to this years reunion, the info flyer is attached. Thanks for helping us keep their legacy alive."

DATE : Friday and Saturday, May 20-21
TIME : May 20 / 8 am - 4:30 pm / 4:30 - 9pm - Hospitality
May 21 / 9 am - 6 pm / 7 pm - banquet
PLACE: Holiday Inn Long Beach Airport
2640 N. Lakewood Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90815
Tel: (562) 597-4401 FAX: (562) 597-0601
Also on May 21: Forgotten Soldiers documentary, reenactment and exhibits of WW II Philippine Scouts memorabilia, photos and books.

For reservation(s) and questions:
Gil Mislang - (323) 286-2121 or (562) 417-7564
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A night celebrating beauty, style, and cultural appreciation for women at least 35 years of age and of all nationalities!
DATE : Friday, May 20, 2011
TIME : Red Carpet: 6pm / Pageant/Dinner: 8pm / After Party: 10pm
PLACE: Universal Hilton
555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, CA
Attire: Strictly Formal & Elegant, Gowns, Black Tie, No T-shirts, caps, sneakers.

Ticket prices are $80 for VIP with dinner and $30 for regular tickets with no dinner. Parking is $14 for valet and $9 for self-parking, both with the appropriate validation. Please RSVP with MARIA AMOR at maria@exotifit.com or (818) 983-3602.
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FREE Admission
DATE : Saturday, May 21
TIME : 11:00 AM - 6 PM
PLACE: Larkin Street from Grove to Ellis Streets (from Civic Center to Little Saigon)

The nation's largest Pan-Asian street fair is back and bigger than ever, showcasing a new Asian Arts & Crafts Alley: an extravaganza of unique handmade products, 30 food vendors and trucks, a children's area, a healthy living pavilion and the return of popular features like the Jazz & Wine area, the Mah Jong section, J-cars, and the Muay Thai kickboxing ring!

Filipino highlights include: SF Pinoy Jazz Revue at 2:30 p.m. at the Jazz and Cultural Stage located at Golden Gate and Larkin Balut Eating Contest at 5 p.m.

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The public is welcome to attend the 2nd annual Family Forum, "Engaging Leadership for Community
Solutions," an all-day free event which will focus on developing community and school-based leadership with over 200 K-12 parents and students in the diverse San Gabriel Valley.

DATE : Saturday May 21, 2011
TIME : 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
PLACE: First Baptist Church
101 S. Atlantic Blvd., Alhambra, CA 91801
The Family Forum is organized by the Student Leadership Network (SLN) and the Parent Leadership Program (PLP) at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC).

It will feature more than 15 workshops and a community resource fair about issues such as health, college access, immigration, financial literacy and renters and workers rights.
The free event includes breakfast and lunch, and those who register also will be guaranteed a T-shirt. Attendees will be eligible for raffle prizes, including $50 gift cards and a free laptop computer.

Individuals can register by calling Mike Pedro at (213) 977-7500 ext. 269.
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Theme: Love (for you Fil Am community), Live (enjoy fine arts), Laugh (experience a high energy fashion show).
DATE : Sunday, May 22
TIME : 3:00pm - 8:00pm
PLACE: Celebrity Centre International, 5930 Franklin
Hollywood, CA
Purchase Tickets online (NO service charge)
hors 'dourves & entertainment included
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DATE : Thursday, May 26
TIME : 5:00pm - 9:00pm
PLACE: Laguna Hills Community Center

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Presents "Asian Pacific American Community Mixer!"

DATE : Thursday, May 26
TIME : 7:00pm - 10:00pm
PLACE: FACC- LA Office and Boardroom
5121 Van Nuys Blvd Suite 205
Sherman Oaks, California

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in Los Angeles! The Filipino- American Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles is proud to join the City of Los Angeles in this month- long celebration!

This event is being held to help connect the various Asian Pacific American communities in the San Fernando Valley and beyond, and to celebrate traditions from the many cultures in Asia and the Pacific Islands.. and thus, honor Asian Pacific Americans who have inspired progress and unselfishly contributed to the betterment of our diverse Los Angeles community.

Snacks and Drinks will be served. Attendance is Free but guests have to email reservations by 05/23/11.

RSVP: Email Joe
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DATE : Saturday, May 28
TIME : 6:30pm - 9:30pm
PLACE: The Promenade at Gano Excel
4828 4th Street, Irwindale, CA

On the occasion of our second year anniversary, Pusong Pinoy will stage a benefit concert entitled "A Tribute to Heroes," a night dedicated to honoring our outstanding heroes and superheroes.

Join us for a night of celebration and fantastic entertainment to raise funds for our cause. The concert will feature Kris Ivan of Browndition, Sharon Tanyag, Maricar Cabasag and other special guests. All proceeds will benefit Pusong Pinoy.

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The Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles will be closed to the public in observance of Memorial Day, a U.S. holiday.
DATE : 30 May 2011
TIME : Whole day
PLACE: Philippine Consulate General
Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles

Regular consular services will resume on the following working day (31 May).

In emergency cases, the Duty officer can be reached at telephone number (213) 268-9990.

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DATE : Saturday, June 11
TIME : Starting at 8 am.
PLACE: Carson, CA
More Info:

20700 Avalon Blvd # 120
Carson, CA 90746-3716
(310) 366-6636

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DATE : Sunday, June 12
PLACE: Union Square, San Francisco

May is Asian American Heritage Month and the Filipino community of the San Francisco Bay Area is preparing a Time Capsule to memorialize the day to day living and typical experiences of present day Filipinos.

Suitable photo voice materials and artifacts to be preserved in the capsule will be collected by Filipino American students during the 103rd celebration of Philippine Independence Day at Union Square on Sunday, June 12, 2011.

A donor form listing the item, the name of the contributor and reason for inclusion to the Time Capsule will also be made available online. Acceptable offerings range from Menus of Filipino Eateries, activities and photos of different Filipino organizations nationally, listing of leading causes of illness and death among Filipinos, Newspaper Clippings, Photographs, Video and Digital Recordings of legal victories, Personal CDs of accomplished Filipinos in the field of Entertainment, Sports, Business, Academia and Politics including pictorial and physical features of their living and work environment.

Acceptable artifacts are Jewelry, Speeding and Parking tickets, Cell Phones, PDA, Calculator, Baseball caps and other items of interest.

Targeted to span 100 years, the Time Capsule will be opened in commemoration of the Philippine Independence Bicentennial on June 12, 2098.

CONTACT : Rudy Asercion
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Organized by San Juan Association (Cabalian)

Tessie Siongco: "Friends and family, please join and enjoy."

DATE : June 24 - 25
TIME : June 24 - Dinner Dance / 6:00PM - 12:00PM
PLACE: June 24 - Dinner Dance, Holiday Inn Buena Park, Ca. 90620
June 25 - Picnic, Bolsa Chica Beach

For more information:

Tessie Siongco, 714-761-3416
Evelyn Galindo, 626-967-4450
Nita Alfaro, 714-826-1170
Terry Batino, 562-310-1399

Complete RH Bill (Reproductive Health Bill) Text

SEC. 1. Title
This Act shall be known as the “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011.”

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy
The State recognizes and guarantees the exercise of the universal basic human right to reproductive health by all persons, particularly of parents, couples and women, consistent with their religious convictions, cultural beliefs and the demands of responsible parenthood. Toward this end, there shall be no discrimination against any person on grounds of sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, political affiliation and ethnicity.

Moreover, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment as a health and human rights concern. The advancement and protection of women’s human rights shall be central to the efforts of the State to address reproductive health care. As a distinct but inseparable measure to the guarantee of women’s rights, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of the welfare and rights of children.

The State likewise guarantees universal access to medically-safe, legal, affordable, effective and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information and education thereon even as it prioritizes the needs of women and children, among other underprivileged sectors.

The State shall eradicate discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of reproductive health rights.

SEC. 3. Guiding Principles
The following principles constitute the framework upon which this Act is anchored:

  1. Freedom of choice, which is central to the exercise of right, must be fully guaranteed by the State;
  2. Respect for, protection and fulfillment of reproductive health and rights seek to promote the rights and welfare of couples, adult individuals, women and adolescents;
  3. Since human resource is among the principal asset of the country, maternal health, safe delivery of healthy children and their full human development and responsible parenting must be ensured through effective reproductive health care;
  4. The provision of medically safe, legal, accessible, affordable and effective reproductive health care services and supplies is essential in the promotion of people’s right to health, especially of the poor and marginalized;
  5. The State shall promote, without bias, all effective natural and modern methods of family planning that are medically safe and legal;
  6. The State shall promote programs that: (1) enable couples, individuals and women to have the number and spacing of children and reproductive spacing they desire with due consideration to the health of women and resources available to them; (2) achieve equitable allocation and utilization of resources; (3) ensure effective partnership among the national government, local government units and the private sector in the design, implementation, coordination, integration, monitoring and evaluation of people-centered programs to enhance quality of life and environmental protection; (4) conduct studies to analyze demographic trends towards sustainable human development and (5) conduct scientific studies to determine safety and efficacy of alternative medicines and methods for reproductive health care development;
  7. The provision of reproductive health information, care and supplies shall be the joint responsibility of the National Government and the Local Government Units (LGUs);
  8. Active participation by non-government, women’s, people’s, civil society organizations and communities is crucial to ensure that reproductive health and population and development policies, plans, and programs will address the priority needs of the poor, especially women;
  9. While this Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner;
  10. There shall be no demographic or population targets and the mitigation of the population growth rate is incidental to the promotion of reproductive health and sustainable human development;
  11. Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of reproductive health and population and development;
  12. The limited resources of the country cannot be suffered to be spread so thinly to service a burgeoning multitude making allocations grossly inadequate and effectively meaningless;
  13. Development is a multi-faceted process that calls for the coordination and integration of policies, plans, programs and projects that seek to uplift the quality of life of the people, more particularly the poor, the needy and the marginalized; and
  14. That a comprehensive reproductive health program addresses the needs of people throughout their life cycle.
SEC. 4. Definition of Terms
For the purposes of this Act, the following terms shall be defined as follows:

Adolescence refers to the period of physical and physiological development of an individual from the onset of puberty to complete growth and maturity which usually begins between eleven (11) to thirteen (13) years and terminating at eighteen (18) to twenty (20) years of age;

Adolescent Sexuality refers to, among others, the reproductive system, gender identity, values and beliefs, emotions, relationships and sexual behavior at adolescence;

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) refers to a condition characterized by a combination of signs and symptoms, caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which attacks and weakens the body’s immune system, making the afflicted individual susceptible to other life-threatening infections;

Anti-Retroviral Medicines (ARVs) refer to medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV;

Basic Emergency Obstetric Care refers to lifesaving services for maternal complications being provided by a health facility or professional, which must include the following six signal functions: administration of parenteral antibiotics; administration of parenteral oxytocic drugs; administration of parenteral anticonvulsants for pre-eclampsia and eclampsia; manual removal of placenta; removal of retained products; and assisted vaginal delivery;

Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care refers to basic emergency obstetric care including deliveries by surgical procedure (caesarian section) and blood transfusion;

Employer refers to any natural or juridical person who hires the services of a worker. The term shall not include any labor organization or any of its officers or agents except when acting as an employer;

Family Planning refers to a program which enables couples, individuals and women to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children, acquire relevant information on reproductive health care, services and supplies and have access to a full range of safe, legal, affordable, effective natural and modern methods of limiting and spacing pregnancy;

Gender Equality refers to the absence of discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in opportunities, allocation of resources or benefits and access to services;

Gender Equity refers to fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men, and often requires women-specific projects and programs to end existing inequalities;

Healthcare Service Provider refers to (1) health care institution, which is duly licensed and accredited and devoted primarily to the maintenance and operation of facilities for health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals suffering from illness, disease, injury, disability or deformity, or in need of obstetrical or other medical and nursing care; (2) a health care professional, who is a doctor of medicine, a nurse, or a midwife; (3) public health worker engaged in the delivery of health care services; and (4) barangay health worker who has undergone training programs under any accredited government and non-government organization and who voluntarily renders primarily health care services in the community after having been accredited to function as such by the local health board in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH);

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) refers to the virus which causes AIDS;

Male Responsibility refers to the involvement, commitment, accountability, and responsibility of males in relation to women in all areas of sexual and reproductive health as well as the protection and promotion of reproductive health concerns specific to men;

Maternal Death Review refers to a qualitative and in-depth study of the causes of maternal death with the primary purpose of preventing future deaths through changes or additions to programs, plans and policies;

Modern Methods of Family Planning refer to safe, effective and legal methods, whether the natural, or the artificial that are registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the DOH, to prevent pregnancy;

People Living with HIV (PLWH) refer to individuals who have been tested and found to be infected with HIV;

Poor refers to members of households identified as poor through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or any subsequent system used by the national government in identifying the poor.

Population and Development refers to a program that aims to: (1) help couples and parents achieve their desired family size; (2) improve reproductive health of individuals by addressing reproductive health problems; (3) contribute to decreased maternal and infant mortality rates and early child mortality; (4) reduce incidence of teenage pregnancy; and (5) recognize the linkage between population and sustainable human development;

Reproductive Health refers to the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes;

Reproductive Health Care refers to the access to a full range of methods, facilities, services and supplies that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by preventing and solving reproductive health-related problems. It also includes sexual health, the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations. The elements of reproductive health care include the following:

  • (a) family planning information and services;
  • (b) maternal, infant and child health and nutrition, including breastfeeding;
  • (c) proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications;
  • (d) adolescent and youth reproductive health;
  • (e) prevention and management of reproductive tract infections (RTIs), HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmittable infections (STIs);
  • (f) elimination of violence against women;
  • (g) education and counseling on sexuality and reproductive health;
  • (h) treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynecological conditions and disorders;
  • (i) male responsibility and participation in reproductive health;
  • (j) prevention and treatment of infertility and sexual dysfunction;
  • (k) reproductive health education for the adolescents; and
  • (l) mental health aspect of reproductive health care.
Reproductive Health Care Program refers to the systematic and integrated provision of reproductive health care to all citizens especially the poor, marginalized and those in vulnerable and crisis situations;

Reproductive Health Rights refer to the rights of couples, individuals and women to decide freely and responsibly whether or not to have children; to determine the number, spacing and timing of their children; to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence; to have relevant information; and to attain the highest condition of sexual and reproductive health;

Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education refers to a lifelong learning process of providing and acquiring complete, accurate and relevant information and education on reproductive health and sexuality through life skills education and other approaches;

Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) refers to sexually transmitted infections, and other types of infections affecting the reproductive system;

Responsible Parenthood refers to the will, ability and commitment of parents to adequately respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children by responsibly and freely exercising their reproductive health rights;

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) refers to any infection that may be acquired or passed on through sexual contact;

Skilled Attendant refers to an accredited health professional, such as midwife, doctor or nurse, who has been educated and trained in the skills needed to manage normal (uncomplicated) pregnancies, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complications in women and newborns, to exclude traditional birth attendant or midwife (hilot), whether trained or not;

Skilled Birth Attendance refers to childbirth managed by a skilled attendant including the enabling conditions of necessary equipment and support of a functioning health system, and the transport and referral facilities for emergency obstetric care; and

Sustainable Human Development refers to bringing people, particularly the poor and vulnerable, to the center of development process, the central purpose of which is the creation of an enabling environment in which all can enjoy long, healthy and productive lives, and done in a manner that promotes their rights and protects the life opportunities of future generations and the natural ecosystem on which all life depends.

SEC. 5. Midwives for Skilled Attendance
The Local Government Units (LGUs) with the assistance of the DOH, shall employ an adequate number of midwives through regular employment or service contracting, subject to the provisions of the Local Government Code, to achieve a minimum ratio of one (1) fulltime skilled birth attendant for every one hundred fifty (150) deliveries per year, to be based on the annual number of actual deliveries or live births for the past two (2) years; Provided, That people in geographically isolated and depressed areas shall be provided the same level of access.

SEC. 6. Emergency Obstetric Care
Each province and city, with the assistance of the DOH, shall establish or upgrade hospitals with adequate and qualified personnel, equipment and supplies to be able to provide emergency obstetric and neonatal care. For every 500,000 population, there shall be at least one (1) hospital with comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care and four (4) hospitals or other health facilities with basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care; Provided, That people in geographically isolated and depressed areas shall be provided the same level of access.

SEC. 7. Access to Family Planning
All accredited health facilities shall provide a full range of modern family planning methods, except in specialty hospitals which may render such services on an optional basis. For poor patients, such services shall be fully covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and/or government financial assistance on a no balance billing.

After the use of any PhilHealth benefit involving childbirth and all other pregnancy-related services, if the beneficiary wishes to space or prevent her next pregnancy, PhilHealth shall pay for the full cost of family planning.

SEC. 8. Maternal and Newborn Health Care in Crisis Situations
The LGUs and the DOH shall ensure that a Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for reproductive health, including maternal and neonatal health care kits and services as defined by the DOH, will be given proper attention in crisis situations such as disasters and humanitarian crises. MISP shall become part of all responses by national agencies at the onset of crisis and emergencies.

Temporary facilities such as evacuation centers and refugee camps shall be equipped to respond to the special needs in the following situations: normal and complicated deliveries, pregnancy complications, miscarriage and post-abortion complications, spread of HIV/AIDS and STIs, and sexual and gender-based violence.

SEC. 9. Maternal Death Review
All LGUs, national and local government hospitals, and other public health units shall conduct annual maternal death review in accordance with the guidelines set by the DOH.

SEC. 10. Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines
Products and supplies for modern family planning methods shall be part of the National Drug Formulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units.

SEC. 10. Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines
Products and supplies for modern family planning methods shall be part of the National Drug Formulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units.

SEC. 11. Procurement and Distribution of Family Planning Supplies
The DOH shall spearhead the efficient procurement, distribution to LGUs and usage-monitoring of family planning supplies for the whole country. The DOH shall coordinate with all appropriate LGUs to plan and implement this procurement and distribution program. The supply and budget allotment shall be based on, among others, the current levels and projections of the following:

  • (a) number of women of reproductive age and couples who want to space or limit their children;
  • (b) contraceptive prevalence rate, by type of method used; and
  • (c) cost of family planning supplies.
SEC. 12. Integration of Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Component in Anti-Poverty Programs
A multi-dimensional approach shall be adopted in the implementation of policies and programs to fight poverty. Towards this end, the DOH shall endeavor to integrate a responsible parenthood and family planning component into all antipoverty and other sustainable human development programs of government, with corresponding fund support. The DOH shall provide such programs technical support, including capacity-building and monitoring.

SEC. 13. Roles of Local Government in Family Planning Programs
The LGUs shall ensure that poor families receive preferential access to services, commodities and programs for family planning. The role of Population Officers at municipal, city and barangay levels in the family planning effort shall be strengthened. The Barangay Health Workers and volunteers shall be capacitated to give priority to family planning work.

SEC. 14. Benefits for Serious and Life-Threatening Reproductive Health Conditions
All serious and life threatening reproductive health conditions such as HIV and AIDS, breast and reproductive tract cancers, obstetric complications, menopausal and post-menopausal related conditions shall be given the maximum benefits as provided by PhilHealth programs.

SEC. 15. Mobile Health Care Service
Each Congressional District may be provided with at least one (1) Mobile Health Care Service (MHCS) in the form of a van or other means of transportation appropriate to coastal or mountainous areas. The MHCS shall deliver health care supplies and services to constituents, more particularly to the poor and needy, and shall be used to disseminate knowledge and information on reproductive health. The purchase of the MHCS may be funded from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of each congressional district. The operation and maintenance of the MHCS shall be operated by skilled health providers and adequately equipped with a wide range of reproductive health care materials and information dissemination devices and equipment, the latter including, but not limited to, a television set for audiovisual presentations. All MHCS shall be operated by a focal city or municipality within a congressional district.

SEC. 16. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education
Age-appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall be taught by adequately trained teachers in formal and non-formal educational system starting from Grade Five up to Fourth Year High School using life skills and other approaches. The Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall commence at the start of the school year immediately following one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act to allow the training of concerned teachers. The Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the DSWD, and the DOH shall formulate the Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education curriculum. Such curriculum shall be common to both public and private schools, out of school youth, and enrollees in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) based on, but not limited to, the psychosocial and the physical wellbeing, the demography and reproductive health, and the legal aspects of reproductive health.

Age-appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall be integrated in all relevant subjects and shall include, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • (a) Values formation;
  • (b) Knowledge and skills in self protection against discrimination, sexual violence and abuse, and teen pregnancy;
  • (c) Physical, social and emotional changes in adolescents;
  • (d) Children’s and women’s rights;
  • (e) Fertility awareness;
  • (f) STI, HIV and AIDS;
  • (g) Population and development;
  • (h) Responsible relationship;
  • (i) Family planning methods;
  • (j) Proscription and hazards of abortion;
  • (k) Gender and development; and
  • (l) Responsible parenthood.
The DepEd, CHED, DSWD, TESDA and DOH shall provide concerned parents with adequate and relevant scientific materials on the age-appropriate topics and manner of teaching Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education to their children.

SEC. 17. Additional Duty of the Local Population Officer
Each Local Population Officer of every city and municipality shall furnish free instructions and information on responsible parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding, infant nutrition and other relevant aspects of this Act to all applicants for marriage license. In the absence of a local Population Officer, a Family Planning Officer under the Local Health Office shall discharge the additional duty of the Population Officer.

SEC. 18. Certificate of Compliance
No marriage license shall be issued by the Local Civil Registrar unless the applicants present a Certificate of Compliance issued for free by the local Family Planning Office certifying that they had duly received adequate instructions and information on responsible parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding and infant nutrition.

SEC. 19. Capability Building of Barangay Health Workers
Barangay Health Workers and other community-based health workers shall undergo training on the promotion of reproductive health and shall receive at least 10% increase in honoraria, upon successful completion of training.

SEC. 20. Ideal Family Size
The State shall assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development and encourage them to have two children as the ideal family size. Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory. No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children.

SEC. 21. Employers’ Responsibilities
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall ensure that employers respect the reproductive rights of workers. Consistent with the intent of Article 134 of the Labor Code, employers with more than two hundred (200) employees shall provide reproductive health services to all employees in their own respective health facilities. Those with less than two hundred (200) workers shall enter into partnerships with hospitals, health facilities, or health professionals in their areas for the delivery of reproductive health services.

Employers shall furnish in writing the following information to all employees and applicants:

  • (a) The medical and health benefits which workers are entitled to, including maternity and paternity leave benefits and the availability of family planning services;
  • (b) The reproductive health hazards associated with work, including hazards that may affect their reproductive functions especially pregnant women; and
  • (c) The availability of health facilities for workers.
Employers are obliged to monitor pregnant working employees among their workforce and ensure that they are provided paid half-day prenatal medical leaves for each month of the pregnancy period that the pregnant employee is employed in their company or organization. These paid pre-natal medical leaves shall be reimbursable from the Social Security System (SSS) or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), as the case may be.

SEC. 22. Pro Bono Services for Indigent Women
Private and non-government reproductive health care service providers, including but not limited to gynecologists and obstetricians, are mandated to provide at least forty-eight (48) hours annually of reproductive health services, ranging from providing information and education to rendering medical services free of charge to indigent and low income patients, especially to pregnant adolescents. These forty-eight (48) hours annual pro bono services shall be included as pre-requisite in the accreditation under the PhilHealth.

SEC. 23. Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs)
The cities and municipalities must ensure that barriers to reproductive health services for PWDs are obliterated by the following:

  • (a) providing physical access, and resolving transportation and proximity issues to clinics, hospitals and places where public health education is provided, contraceptives are sold or distributed or other places where reproductive health services are provided;
  • (b) adapting examination tables and other laboratory procedures to the needs and conditions of persons with disabilities;
  • (c) increasing access to information and communication materials on sexual and reproductive health in braille, large print, simple language, and pictures;
  • (d) providing continuing education and inclusion rights of persons with disabilities among health-care providers; and
  • (e) undertaking activities to raise awareness and address misconceptions among the general public on the stigma and their lack of knowledge on the sexual and reproductive health needs and rights of persons with disabilities.
SEC. 24. Right to Reproductive Health Care Information
The government shall guarantee the right of any person to provide or receive non-fraudulent information about the availability of reproductive health care services, including family planning, and prenatal care.

The DOH and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) shall initiate and sustain a heightened nationwide multi-media campaign to raise the level of public awareness of the protection and promotion of reproductive health and rights including family planning and population and development.

SEC. 25. Implementing Mechanisms
Pursuant to the herein declared policy, the DOH and the Local Health Units in cities and municipalities shall serve as the lead agencies for the implementation of this Act and shall integrate in their regular operations the following functions:

  • (a) Ensure full and efficient implementation of the Reproductive Health Care Program;
  • (b) Ensure people’s access to medically safe, legal, effective, quality and affordable reproductive health supplies and services;
  • (c) Ensure that reproductive health services are delivered with a full range of supplies, facilities and equipment and that healthcare service providers are adequately trained for such reproductive health care delivery;
  • (d) Take active steps to expand the coverage of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), especially among poor and marginalized women, to include the full range of reproductive health services and supplies as health insurance benefits;
  • (e) Strengthen the capacities of health regulatory agencies to ensure safe, legal, effective, quality, accessible and affordable reproductive health services and commodities with the concurrent strengthening and enforcement of regulatory mandates and mechanisms;
  • (f) Promulgate a set of minimum reproductive health standards for public health facilities, which shall be included in the criteria for accreditation. These minimum reproductive health standards shall provide for the monitoring of pregnant mothers, and a minimum package of reproductive health programs that shall be available and affordable at all levels of the public health system except in specialty hospitals where such services are provided on optional basis;
  • (g) Facilitate the involvement and participation of NGOs and the private sector in reproductive health care service delivery and in the production, distribution and delivery of quality reproductive health and family planning supplies and commodities to make them accessible and affordable to ordinary citizens;
  • (h) Furnish LGUs with appropriate information and resources to keep them updated on current studies and researches relating to responsible parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding and infant nutrition; and
  • (i) Perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes of this Act.
The Commission on Population (POPCOM), as an attached agency of DOH, shall serve as the coordinating body in the implementation of this Act and shall have the following functions:

  • (a) Integrate on a continuing basis the interrelated reproductive health and population development agenda consistent with the herein declared national policy, taking into account regional and local concerns;
  • (b) Provide the mechanism to ensure active and full participation of the private sector and the citizenry through their organizations in the planning and implementation of reproductive health care and population and development programs and projects; and
  • (c) Conduct sustained and effective information drives on sustainable human development and on all methods of family planning to prevent unintended, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies.
SEC. 26. Reporting Requirements
Before the end of April of each year, the DOH shall submit an annual report to the President of the Philippines, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives (HOR). The report shall provide a definitive and comprehensive assessment of the implementation of its programs and those of other government agencies and instrumentalities, civil society and the private sector and recommend appropriate priorities for executive and legislative actions. The report shall be printed and distributed to all national agencies, the LGUs, civil society and the private sector organizations involved in said programs.

The annual report shall evaluate the content, implementation and impact of all policies related to reproductive health and family planning to ensure that such policies promote, protect and fulfill reproductive health and rights, particularly of parents, couples and women.

SEC. 27. Congressional Oversight Committee (COC)
There is hereby created a Congressional Oversight Committee composed of five (5) members each from the Senate and the HOR. The members from the Senate and the HOR shall be appointed by the Senate President and the Speaker, respectively, based on proportional representation of the parties or coalition therein with at least one (1) member representing the Minority.

The COC shall be headed by the respective Chairs of the Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Population and Family Relations of the HOR. The Secretariat of the COC shall come from the existing Secretariat personnel of the Senate’ and the HOR’ committees concerned

The COC shall monitor and ensure the effective implementation of this Act, determine the inherent weakness and loopholes in the law, recommend the necessary remedial legislator or administrative measures and perform such other duties and functions as may be necessary to attain the objectives of this Act.

SEC. 28. Prohibited Acts
The following acts are prohibited:

  • (a) Any healthcare service provider, whether public or private, who shall:
  1. Knowingly withhold information or restrict the dissemination thereof, or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health, including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods;
  2. Refuse to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of third party consent or authorization. In case of married persons, the mutual consent of the spouses shall be preferred. However in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail. In the case of abused minors where parents or other family members are the respondent, accused or convicted perpetrators as certified by the proper prosecutorial office or court, no prior parental consent shall be necessary; and
  3. Refuse to extend health care services and information on account of the person’s marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, or nature of work; Provided, That, the conscientious objection of a healthcare service provider based on his/her ethical or religious beliefs shall be respected; however, the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another healthcare service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible who is willing to provide the requisite information and services; Provided, further, That the person is not in an emergency condition or serious case as defined in RA 8344 otherwise known as “An Act Penalizing the Refusal of Hospitals and Medical Clinics to Administer Appropriate Initial Medical Treatment and Support in Emergency and Serious Cases”.
  • (b) Any public official who, personally or through a subordinate, prohibits or restricts the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning; or forces, coerces or induces any person to use such services.
  • (c) Any employer or his representative who shall require an employee or applicant, as a condition for employment or continued employment, to undergo sterilization or use or not use any family planning method; neither shall pregnancy be a ground for non-hiring or termination of employment.
  • (d) Any person who shall falsify a certificate of compliance as required in Section 15 of this Act; and
  • (e) Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.
SEC. 29. Penalties
Any violation of this Act or commission of the foregoing prohibited acts shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine of Ten Thousand (P 10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P 50,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the competent court; Provided That, if the offender is a public official or employee, he or she shall suffer the accessory penalty of dismissal from the government service and forfeiture of retirement benefits. If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president or any responsible officer. An offender who is an alien shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration.

SEC. 30. Appropriations
The amounts appropriated in the current annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) for Family Health and Responsible Parenting under the DOH and POPCOM shall be allocated and utilized for the initial implementation of this Act. Such additional sums necessary to implement this Act; provide for the upgrading of facilities necessary to meet Basic Emergency Obstetric Care and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care standards; train and deploy skilled health providers; procure family planning supplies and commodities as provided in Sec. 6; and implement other reproductive health services, shall be included in the subsequent GAA.

SEC. 31. Implementing Rules and Regulations
Within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act, the Secretary of the DOH shall formulate and adopt amendments to the existing rules and regulations to carry out the objectives of this Act, in consultation with the Secretaries of the DepED, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the DOLE, the DSWD, the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Commissioner of CHED, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), and two NGOs or Peoples’ Organizations (POs) for women. Full dissemination of the IRR to the public shall be ensured.

SEC. 32. Separability Clause
If any part or provision of this Act is held invalid or unconstitutional, other provisions not affected thereby shall remain in force and effect.

SEC. 33. Repealing Clause
All other laws, decrees, orders, issuances, rules and regulations which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.

SEC. 34. Effectivity
This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

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