2 Iloilo towns ban home delivery (of babies)

By Florence F. Hibionada

Notice to all expectant mothers (and the fathers, as well): The municipalities of Dueñas and Estancia, Iloilo have officially prohibited, and banned, home deliveries – of babies.

As such, public notice goes out too, to all medical health practitioners and traditional birth attendants. With town Ordinances passed, it is now illegal to aid a pregnant woman due to give birth in the confines of the family home. The legal way to do it, or at least in Dueñas and Estancia, is only with the town’s authorized birthing clinics, health centers or hospital.

In fact, not only is it prohibited, banned and deemed illegal, penalties have also been set for the violators – the mothers themselves and whoever aids in her birthing process.

In Dingle, Iloilo, Ordinance No. 2011-004 is the accompanying law entitled, “An Ordinance requiring expectant mothers to deliver in health facilities under the care of skilled health attendants, and prohibiting all medical health practitioners and traditional birth attendants to perform home deliveries and for other purposes.”

In Estancia, Iloilo, Ordinance No. 2011-001 covers the prohibition entitled, “An Ordinance imposing fee for the service maintenance of the Municipal Birthing Clinic of the Rural Health Unit, Municipality of Estancia, Province of Iloilo prohibition of home deliveries and providing penalties in violation thereof.”

The said Ordinances were submitted to the 10th Iloilo Sanggunian Panlalawigan (SP) for procedural review. The matter was first referred to the Committee on Health and Sanitation chaired by First District Board Member Mac Napulan.

A physician by profession, Napulan expressed concerns though on the legality and regularity of the subject Ordinances. With that, Napulan forwarded the matter to the Committee on Ordinances, Legal Matters and Inter-Governmental Relations.

“For me, it is very harsh…to prohibit home delivery and with penal sanctions…it is just very harsh,” Napulan said in a PNS interview. “What about those who cannot afford birthing clinics or hospitals? I understand that the intent here is to minimize maternal deaths as called for by the Department of Health. But to put penal provisions…just very harsh.”

While no statistics were readily disclosed, Napulan said maternal deaths rank high in Iloilo province.

“I am still checking if there is an enabling law that mandates the prohibition of home deliveries and corresponding penalties,” he said.