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SONA 2016: Duterte urges full

implementation of RH law
"The implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law must be put into full force
and effect so that couples, especially the poor, will have freedom of informed choice in the number and
spacing of children they can adequately care and provide for, eventually making them more productive
members of the labor force," Duterte said on Monday, July 25.
Duterte has always supported the RH law, but on Monday, he did not provide specifics on how its full
implementation will be ensured.
He was also silent on the temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court (SC), which advocates
consider the biggest challenge in implementing the law.
The SC in 2015 temporarily stopped the health department's distribution and sale of implants, a contraceptive
that can prevent pregnancies for up to 3 years.

The High Court also prohibited the Food and Drug Administration from "granting any and all pending
application for reproductive products and supplies, including contraceptive drugs and devices."
According to the Commission on Population (PopCom), almost 90% of contraceptive brands will no longer be
available by 2018 if the TRO remains in place.
PopCom said this situation will make the RH law "ineffective."
The Office of the Solicitor General already filed a motion to lift the TRO in 2015. Another motion filed last June
24 also asked the SC to allow the distribution of existing units of implants "before their expiration dates
pending resolution of this case."
Still, the latest report on the implementation of the RH law revealed that despite the TRO, the use of modern
family planning methods in the country still increased in 2015.
On Monday, Duterte also vowed that the government will provide universal health care for all Filipinos.
"The professional competence and operational capabilities of government hospitals and health facilities will be
strengthened," he added.
The Reproductive Health Bill, is popularly known as the RH Bill, a Philippine bill that aims to
guarantee methods and information for universal access on birth control and maternal care. It has
become the center of a contentious national debate.

At some point I dont agree with the bill, it does inform the public regarding the pros and cons of
unguarded sex but it also deprives the minds of the students with their innocence. It stirs the
students curiosity that pushes them to venture out in unguided sex.
Ombudsman strictly
implements smoking ban
In Office Circular 12 signed last April 13, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales required strict
compliance of the ban, which covers all forms of tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, e-
cigarettes and similar devices.
The ban covers not only the Ombudsman's office buildings, but even other structures it has rented, as
well as rooms, the compound and its grounds, parking areas, garden, rooftop, and vehicles in the
A directive which prohibits smoking within office premises has actually been in place since 2010, but
it was treated casually for years.

"To ensure the success of the anti-smoking policy of the Office of the Ombudsman, smokers and non-
smokers alike should be educated on the negative effects of smoking necessitating a need for the
implementation of a smoking cessation program," the Ombudsman said.
The government agency will designate smoking areas, but smokers there will see graphic and textual
health warnings that caution against the harms of smoking. Signs with words such as "This is a
Smoke-Free Zone" and "No Smoking" will also be prominently posted in the entrance gates and other
conspicuous areas. These signs will warn violators about fines of up to P10,000, based on
the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 and the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999.
Aggravating factors include attempts of the offender to use his or her official position for undue
advantage, the number of times he or she is caught violating the ban, and discarding cigarette butts
Building administrators and area supervisors will conduct regular inspections within the government
agency to check on compliance of officials, employees, and visitors alike.
As early as 1999, the Philippines already has Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act. Republic Act
9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, meanwhile, mandates the establishment of smoking
and non-smoking areas in places not covered by the law's smoking ban.
Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year, with more than 5 million as a result of direct
tobacco use. In the Philippines, 240 Filipinos die every day because of major tobacco-related
diseases. So by this law we save many lives and prevent the smokers from dying.
The dangers of the
Dangerous Drugs Act
MANILA, Philippines It is one of the Philippines main weapons against illegal drugs yet Republic
Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 looks good only on paper.
With President Rodrigo Dutertes fight against drugs, this 14-year-old measure was suddenly put
under the spotlight.
RA 9165 mandates the government to "pursue an intensive and unrelenting campaign against the
trafficking and use of dangerous drugs and other similar substances."
Under the law, those caught importing, selling, manufacturing, and using illegal drugs and its forms
may be fined and imprisoned for at least 12 years to a lifetime, depending on the severity of the
Since the law was passed at a time the death penalty was still applicable, it is the maximum
punishment imposed by the original law. This, however, is moot at present as the death penalty was
already abolished in 2006.
If such strict law was passed 14 years ago in 2002, the question remains: Why does the multi-billion
drug industry remain unstoppable?
Dutertes strong drive against drugs has raised more questions than answers involving the measure:
Is the law effective? What else can be done? What went wrong?
For Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, principal sponsor of the law, the legislation is anything
but a failure.
Had the law been implemented properly and consistently, Sotto said the countrys drug problem
would not be as massive as it is now.
Kaya lumala hindi inimplementa nang tama ang batas noong mga nakaraang taon. Mula 2002
hanggang ngayon, every now and then parang roller coaster, may panahon na aasikasuhin, may
panahon na hindi. Talagang execution ang problema. Ang ganda na nga eh, Sotto told Rappler.
Past administrations had their own respective focus. Now, Dutertes single agenda of fighting
criminality has opened the floodgates of issues that had long been neglected.
Alternative Medicine
The Department of Health listed ten medicinal plants in the Philippine National Drug Formulary
(PNDF). These are: lagundi (for asthma, cough and fever), ulasimang bato (for uric acid), bawang (for
managing high blood pressure), bayabas (for diarrhea), akapulko (for fungal infections), sambong (for
renal stones), ampalaya (for high blood sugar), yerba buena (for pain relief), niyog-niyogan (for
purging intestinal worms), and tsaang gubat (against tooth decay).

In addition to TAMA, Republic Act 7394 or the Consumers Act of the Philippines acknowledges herbal
plants as legitimate drugs. The law states that the term drug shall include herbal and/or traditional
remedies listed in the PNDF.

Public support for herbal medicines, boosted by national policy, proved stronger than expected. This
is especially true for cough relief formulations. This must be the reason why one major
pharmaceutical company, seeing its best-selling synthetic cough relief syrup suffer declining sales,
chose to mount a campaign attempting to discredit herbal formulations.

In a major ad campaign, the pharmaceutical giant has unfairly characterized herbal remedies as
contaminated with bacteria. This is a malicious slur on the entire herbal products industry.

Clinical tests show that reputable brands of herbal remedies have bacterial content well below the
microbial limits set by the DOH-FDA. They could not possibly harm users of these remedies. The ad
campaign, aimed at protecting market share and profitability, is simply irresponsible.

The ad campaign does not only harm the specific herbal remedy to the popular synthetic cough
syrup. It undermines the growing public acceptability of alternative natural remedies.

That growing public acceptability, unaided by big-budget advertising, must be due to the efficacy of
the herbal alternatives available in the market. This is a good sign because it broadens public access
to remedies to the most common health concerns. It is an even better sign because it supports the
growth of so many backyard industries that provide livelihood for so many Filipinos.

If herbal cures were a fraud, they would not be enjoying the strong consumer support we now see.
Let us not insult the intelligence of the Filipino consumer by peddling distortions about alternative
remedies to mainstream synthetic drugs.
PODCAST: There's an HIV law
in the PH?
It was still the early days of the epidemic and only a few countries had a law that clearly defined what
constituted discrimination, outlined education and awareness policies, and emphasized the
management of prevention strategies through the establishment of the Philippine National AIDS
Council (PNAC).
It was around 2009 when HIV infections first started to spike. Since then, new HIV infections have
been on the uptick, rising at exponential rates and at an alarming speed.
From 2010 to 2015, the Philippines recorded more than 20,000 new HIV infections about 4 times
more than the country has ever reported since the first case of HIV in 1984.
The results of a national surveillance study released by the Department of Health (DOH) last
November showed that HIV infections increased by close to 800% in the 15 to 24 age group from
2001 to 2015.
Under the current HIV law, minors cannot access HIV testing without parental consent, hampering
efforts like early diagnosis and treatment.
We need to allow young people to access HIV testing. We need harm reduction programs (for
people who inject drugs). We need to overhaul our legal framework on HIV, said Bagas.
Bagas guests on this week's Sex and Sensibilities podcast to talk about the need to update the
countrys legal framework on HIV and the amendments proposed by lobbyists, activists, and public
health experts to modernize the HIV Law.
"The current law is designed for general population epidemics. Awareness activities are not targeted
and don't really inform important sub-populations about what they can do to prevent HIV infection and
where they could get treatment," argued Bagas.
"It also has a very poor articulation of how government should be spending its resources for HIV
programs," he added.
Apart from stating a budget for the PNAC, the current HIV law leaves the budgeting for specific HIV
programs to the Department of Health and local governments. The result is often selective and
disjointed funding of prevention programs all of which are dependent on the subjective priorities of
government officials.
2-year-old boy, 6 others rescued
from Bacolod cybersex den
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines Police rescued 6 minors and a young woman from a suspected
cybersex den in Barangay 26 in this city on Thursday, July 13.
Authorities arrested a 35-year-old woman during an entrapment operation, the mother of two of the
minors and aunt of two others rescued, said Senior Inspector Lawrence Ibo, team leader of Women
and Children Protection Center-Visayas Field Unit based in Cebu City.
Police rescued the suspect's children a two-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl as well as her
nieces aged 17 and 22, and her neighbors aged 5, 14, and 16, Ibo said.
The suspect was placed under surveillance for a week following the reports of her illegal activities.
She allegedly took pictures of her neighbors' bathing children and sent it to her customers.
Ibo said the suspect was caught in the act of offering her 5-year-old daughter to a customer to
perform sexual acts live streamed online in exchange for money.
He said the suspect had been operating the business, which she inherited from her elder sister, for
3 years now.
Ibo said that police is "conducting further investigation" to locate other victims.
He said the customers of the suspect were mostly foreigners who paid through money remittance
service. The payment for the live show exploiting nude children ranged from P1,000 to P25,000, Ibo
The 6 minors were turned over to the custody of the City Department of Social Welfare and
Development while the suspect was detained at Police Station 4.
The suspect will face charges for child abuse and violations of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012
and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.
This is the fourth cybercrime case uncovered by the authorities in Bacolod in since May, when
several female minors were rescued from cybersex operations in Barangay Barangay Handuman.
Like the latest case, the mother of a victim was involved.
In the same month, 3 women were arrested in separate operations in two barangays, while a 62-year-
old American was nabbed after he allegedly uploaded sex videos of him and his multiple partners on
the internet.
Superintendent Maria Shiela Portento, head of Women and Children Protection Center-Operation
Management Division based in Camp Crame, said cases on online sexual exploitation of children in
the country is alarming.
She cited 3 factors why these cases are prevalent in the Philippines.
"First, the foreigner can easily engage because we can speak good English. Second, the facilitators
are family members so theres trust, and lastly, internet is readily accessible," Portento said.
She also said they are strengthening the information campaign and awareness about these cases,
but more effort is still needed.
Penalty awaits ISPs not blocking
child porn sites DOJ
MANILA, Philippines Penalties await Philippine Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which fail to
install technology to block child pornography, the justice department said.
In an advisory released Tuesday, September 1, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said such a
government regulation has been mandated by law but unenforced since 2009.
Child pornography is punishable under Republic Act (RA) 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of
2009, which requires ISPs to filter sites featuring child pornography.
Under RA 9775, ISPs that fail to do this will be fined P500,000 to P1 million on the first offense and
P1 million to P2 million with revocation of license to operate for subsequent offenses.
Moves to block child pornography started to become more concrete in 2014.
With the Philippines considered as a global source of child pornography, DOJ pushed fordenying
access to pornographic sites featuring children on most computers, smartphones, and tablets.
A National Telecommunications Commission circular already requires ISPs to submit its software
solution for evaluation by the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP) and report
monthly the sites they have blocked.
The list of pornographic websites was also provided by the IACACP.
Blood needed: With PH blood supply
below target, patients seek help online
MANILA, Philippines Aena Briones was a grade school student when she was told to scour
hospitals and look for blood. Her grandmother had been rushed to a hospital in Quezon City, a wound
in her stomach, and needed blood badly. At the time, Aena was the only one in Metro Manila who
could tend to her grandmother.
She remembers feeling out of her depth: a young girl going around from hospital to hospital, asking if
they had blood units available, and walking away empty-handed. It wasn't until she finally called her
mother that they were able to find what they needed at a blood bank of the Philippine Red Cross

Fast forward several years later, and Aena remembering what she had to go through to help her
grandmother is now involved in Dugong Bayani, an online initiative that helps connect blood donors
with patients who need them.

It was also by going online that Lish Mendoza was able to find blood donors for her sick father. In
October last year, her family found out that her father's bone marrow could no longer produce enough
blood cells, and he was in urgent need of blood every two weeks.

Lish who also regularly donated blood found herself having to look for at least 6 volunteers to
provide AB+ blood that her father needed.

So she turned to Facebook. Her name and face reappeared every so often on Facebook groups for
blood donors and patients, as she appealed for kind-hearted strangers to spare a few hours of their
day, come to the UST Hospital in Sampaloc, Manila, and help save her father's life.

While there are blood banks in hospitals and centers like the PRC, the country's blood supply still falls
short of the target which means that desperate patients may find themselves going from blood bank
to blood bank, and not finding enough stock for their much-needed transfusions.

Because of this, people like Aena and Lish are turning to online networks in a bid to connect directly o
those who can help.
Is it P200 or P300? Encounter
over wrong price tag goes viral
MANILA, Philippines What happens when the staff of a clothing store sticks a supposedly wrong
price tag on an item, then insists on charging the higher "correct" price to a customer? Well, the
clothing chain goes viral for the wrong reason.
It turns out that Cotton On customer Kaye Sy-Catral knew her rights as a consumer, and posted on
Facebook on Wednesday, December 21, about her bad experience.
Catral said she picked up a pair of shorts with a price tag of P200, only to find out from the cashier
lady that the price tag was supposedly wrong and the item actually cost P300.
The customer didn't back down until the store manager intervened and made Catral pay for only what
the price tag indicated, P200.
According to Republic Act 7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines, it is
"unlawful to offer any consumer product for retail sale to the public without an appropriate price tag,
label or marking publicly displayed to indicate the price of each article and said products shall not be
sold at a price higher than that stated therein and without discrimination to all buyers."
Catral also recounted how she got a litte bit of attitude from the cashier after that.
The cashier went on to call the manager, who was "pleasant" enough to sell the product to her based
on the tag but not without commenting on the side that they would be P100 short because of it.
As of writing, the post has received over 3,000 comments, been liked 34,000 times, and shared over
13,000 times. Several Facebook users are saying they have experienced the same thing.
n a statement sent to Rappler, the Cotton On team said they "take the feedback to heart" and will
"review their systems" to hopefully come back "better and extend to customers exceptional shopping
Cotton On expects that there will be occasions where they might disappoint, but they consider it as an
"invite to do better the next time around."
For those who have experienced poor service, Cotton On encourages their customers to let them
know and allow them to correct it. "Take up our invitation to come back and allow us to be at our
finest," they continued.
What laws help keep road users
MANILA, Philippines Last month, 15 college students on their way to a camping trip lost their lives

safe in the Philippines?

when the bus they were riding crashed into a electric post in Tanay, Rizal.

The bus crash sparked calls for investigation into the incident, and resulted in a ban on college field
trips. (READ: Relatives seek justice after Tanay bus accident)

The Tanay bus crash prompts questions on the state of road safety laws in the Philippines, and how
adequate these policies are in ensuring the safety of road users and motorists.

Every year, 1.25 million people die in road crashes an alarming figure for what experts say is a
preventable global health issue.

In its 2015 report on road safety, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10,379 people
died due to road crashes in 2013 a figure higher than the 1,513 recorded in the Philippines'
Department of Public Works and Highway-Traffic Accident Recording and Analysis System.

Various proposals have been raised to arrest the alarming number of road crashes, with lawmakers
crafting proposals to improve road safety measures: from the need to rethink the design and
construction of roads and keep them up to date with international standards, to implementing proper
road safety education and training.

Rappler lists down existing laws and policies on road safety in the Philippines, including proposed
measures still pending in Congress.
Ma.Krisabelle M.Acol