Public hearing on barangay ordinance set

Tina Santos

Philippine Daily Inquirer

OFFICIALS of the Muntinlupa City government and Barangay Ayala Alabang have agreed to put on hold the implementation of an ordinance which would require residents of one of the richest barangays in Metro Manila to first present a doctor’s prescription if they want to buy condoms.

Omar Acosta, the city’s public information officer, said Mayor Aldrin San Pedro and officials of the barangay led by its chair, Alfred Xerez-Burgos, decided during a meeting on Thursday to take no action on the ordinance pending the conduct of another public consultation on March 19.

“The ordinance will not yet be enforced. It was agreed that the barangay council would hold another public hearing. But it was also agreed that what would be discussed during the consultation would only be limited to the issues raised by the health committee of the city council,” Acosta told the Inquirer.

He added, “After the public consultation, the revised version of the ordinance will be subjected again to the mandatory review and approval [of] the city council. The revision should be in accordance with the suggestions and recommendations of the city council.”

The city council earlier remanded the ordinance to the barangay level, saying some portions might be viewed as an infringement of human rights. It also asked Burgos and the other officials, through a letter, to clarify certain provisions.

“The right of any individual to access contraceptives and family planning methods deemed illegal in the barangay ordinance, yet allowed by the Department of Health, may constitute violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution,” the city council had said in its letter to the barangay.

Some members of the city council are expected to act as observers during the public consultation that will be held at the Alabang Country Club.

Burgos earlier maintained that the controversial ordinance was “consistent with the Constitution” and did not violate any laws, contrary to the position taken by the city council’s health committee.

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