LEGAZPI CITY – Albay representative and Minority leader Edcel Lagman has called on Congress to give the Reproductive Health Bill (RHB) equal billing with the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) as priority measures because the former complements the latter.
“No amount of trillions of appropriations will be adequate if the increase in the national budget is eroded by an inordinate population growth because parents, couples and women are not fully afforded the right to responsibly and freely determine the number and spacing of their children,” the opposition congressman who principally authored the RHB said in a statement here Wednesday.
The priority enactment of the RHB, he said was recently given presidential imprimatur and has been included as one of the additional priority bills of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
Lagman said that the complementarity of the RHB and the GAB are clear in the major instances such as, one, quality education will always be hampered by huge backlogs in classrooms, teachers and textbooks as the annual escalation of school enrollment outpaces the budget for education.
Two, he said healthcare expenditures will continue to rise if maternal and infant morbidity and mortality are not reduced because reproductive health information and services are not accessible to the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors.
The third major instance cited by Lagman is that despite budgetary allocations and incentives for job generation, the problems of unemployment and underemployment will defy solution if the huge number of annual entrants to the manpower pool remains unchecked.
Worldwide studies also show that excessive population growth bloats the unemployment rate and debases wage rates, he said.
Lastly, Lagman said, the appropriation for the protection of the environment and the containment of climate change is rendered deficient as the environment becomes the casualty of population influx and the country’s carrying capacity is impaired by unbridled population growth. (PNA)