Reacting to Ordinance No.1 of Barangay Ayala Alabang in Muntinlupa City, Senator Pia Cayetano said members of the village council should have first consulted the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) before passing the controversial ordinance which seeks to regulate the sale, promotion and purchase of contraceptives within the barangay’s jurisidiction.
“It is incredulous how the local council of Barangay Ayala Alabang has arrogated to itself the power and responsibility to regulate drugs and devices, and even to determine what’s safe and what’s not,” said Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, which is overseeing the crafting of the upper chamber’s version of the Reproductive Health Bill.
“As Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, I sponsored the passage in the 14th Congress of RA 9711, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Law, which gave the FDA full powers to regulate food, drugs and other devices, with public health and safety as its foremost concern.”
“I still chair the health committee in the 15th Congress and I’m not aware of any law or bill authorizing the transfer of power to regulate drugs from the FDA to the barangay. Since time immemorial, that power has been lodged in FDA, which was formerly known as the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD).”
“This is usurpation of power,” she stressed.
Cayetano, herself a resident of Ayala Alabang, emphasized that her village council cannot simply seize the functions and responsibilities vested by law with the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) by making up its own definition of ‘abortifacients’ to include drugs and medical devices such as hormonal pills, condoms and Intra-Uterine Devices or IUDs which have already been approved and certified as safe and effective by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“What the members of the barangay council should have done is to endorse their concerns regarding the efficacy and safety of certain drugs to the proper government authority, in this case the FDA, for the latter’s evaluation and official action.” #