While there is separation of powers among the three branches of Government

While there is separation of powers among the three

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While there is separation of powers among the three branches of Government, effective collaboration between these branches of Government results in the passage of key legislations to further the goals of the health sector. For instance, the Presidential push to pass the Sin Tax bill to reform the excise tax system and to raise revenues for the universal health coverage (UHC) agenda resulted in widespread support for House Bill No. 5727 from his allies in the House of Representatives, and finally the Senate endorsed the Sin Tax bill in 2012 (Visconti K, 2012). Moreover, the Presidential certification of Senate Bill No. 3299 as urgent also facilitated faster deliberation of the Sin Tax measure at the Senate. The strong message from the President of the Republic galvanized the Congress to pass the Sin Tax Law, which ended more than 15 years of battle against a strong industry lobby that kept the prices of Sin Tax products in the country among the cheapest in the world. Similarly, the collaborative relationship between the legislative and the executive branches of the Government was demonstrated in the passage of Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (RH Law), a measure that had languished in Congress for more than 15 years. Shortly after the President signed the RH Law, anti-RH groups challenged the constitutionality of the law at the Supreme Court by submitting 14 petitions and a further two petitions in intervention of the RH Law to the High Court. On 8 April 2013, the Supreme Court decided that the RH Law was constitutional but struck down eight provisions that the Court found to be unconstitutional (Supreme Court, 2014). Section 7, which is about access to family planning, as well as Sections A and B of its implementing rules and regulations, were found to be unconstitutional. Section A requires private health facilities and non-maternity specialty hospitals and hospitals owned and operated by a religious group to refer patients not in an emergency or life-threatening case to another health facility that is conveniently accessible. Section B allows minor parents or minors who have suffered a miscarriage access to modern methods of family planning without written consent from their parents or guardians.
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11 As in the case of any democratic society, participation of the people in the policy-making process in the Philippines is not only encouraged but actively sought. This was well demonstrated when non-State actors (civil society, private sector) actively participated by lobbying for the passage of the Sin Tax (Chavez JJ et al., 2014; Kaiser KA et al., 2016) and RH Laws (Fonbuena C, 2012b; Padilla CRA, 2010). Meanwhile, Philippine’s participation in international commitments and free trade agreements has helped shape the health policy-making process and programme development in the country. For instance, the Philippines is a signatory to the 2000 Millennium Declaration that outlined the time-bound Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which the Government has adopted, and ensured that the indicators are relevant
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