DOH confident SC will lift TRO on contraceptives

Department of Health spokesperson Dr. Enrique Tayag on Thursday allayed fears about the state of the Supreme Court’s Temporary Restraining Order that has placed heavy restrictions on distribution and procurement of contraceptives in the Philippines.

At a media forum on “Legal Barriers to Family Planning: Putting Women’s Lives at Risk,” Tayag said that despite preparing for the worst case scenario, he is confident that the Supreme Court will make a wise decision and lift the TRO.

“We are confident that the Supreme Court will respect the rights of Filipino women,” Tayag declared.

He added, “Hintayin lang natin. Maraming naiinip, pero it’s worth the wait. Lalo na kung positive naman ang magiging decision nila.”

The DOH and the Office of the President in March filed an urgent motion to lift the TRO, which has been in effect since 2015.

The TRO bars the government from acquiring or distributing pills, injectables, intrauterine device, implants, vaginal rings, and other brands. It has also kept the FDA from issuing certificate of product registrations (CPR) to certain contraceptive drugs and devices.

Tayag told GMA News Online the DOH will soon be releasing to the public a list of contraceptives affected by the TRO and the date of the expiration of their CPRs for reference.

It has been previously projected that most if not all female contraceptives will be off the shelves by 2019.

Still, Tayag maintained his positive position and said that the SC will see that the Reproductive Health Law is what is best for the country and make a favorable decision.

“We are doing everything we can and we have appreciated President Rodrigo Duterte’s issuance of Executive Order 12,” he said. “While the local government units are supportive of the improvement, the DOH expects more from them.”

He added, “While it is true that there is a decline in supply of contraceptives, there is enough for women to use today. We challenge the LGUs that they make sure that more women can make a choice so that their desired family size will actually be met.”