POPCOM hopes next admin will sustain family planning momentum

By Christine Cudis

April 7, 2022, 8:07 pm

<p><em>Commission on Population and Development chief Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III (Screengrab)</em></p>

Commission on Population and Development chief Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III (Screengrab)

MANILA – The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) urges the next president to be consistent with advocating family planning among Filipinos so the progress will continue.

POPCOM’s data shared on Thursday showed that towards the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term, a strong patronage of about 8.1 million Filipino couples, partners, and individuals are now aware of family planning practice and usage.

The figure is 25 percent higher or 2 million more than when Duterte assumed his post in 2016.

“The key to success in any undertaking is continuity. With the right leaders hopefully elected by our countrymen, Filipino families will continue to be empowered, as well as reap the positive outcomes of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) law, family planning and POPDEV policies that uphold their wellbeing and welfare,” POPCOM chief Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III said in a recorded press briefing aired on Thursday.

Perez also bared that in 2016-2022, the country witnessed the mainstream implementation of Republic Act 10354, or the RPRH law, which helped boost the total number of those that availed of family planning services by 30 percent since its passage in 2012.

The latest Field Health Services Information System (FHSIS) revealed that in terms of contraceptive methods, pills remain the most preferred by some 3.2 million Filipino women in 2020 -- it grew by 1 million since 2016.

Implants also had a significant increase in acceptors -- from 103,000 to 474,000 in the six-year period.

More to be done

Perez underscored that amid these accomplishments, POPCOM has more policies that needed mainstream attention.

Apart from family planning, pressing concerns on demographic vulnerabilities and migration in urban areas surfaced at the height of the health emergency.

“President Duterte has ongoing efforts to ease population numbers in high-density barangays nationwide and that is one way to solve this problem,” Perez said as he noted that this should be continued so families can experience a better quality of life.

“Currently, two-thirds of our population enjoy only about 35 percent of the dividends of our national economy. We want to know our candidates’ plans about decongesting the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon and Calabarzon, which hold 39 percent of the entire country’s population while partaking in the benefits of 65 percent of the national economy. This will be key in developing regions outside of the three, particularly those beyond Southern Tagalog, which are left behind in terms of progress,” he added. (PNA)