Government on track to meet population, development goals — Ernesto Pernia

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - April 4, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government is on track to reach its medium-term demographic-economic goals as policies on population and development are already in place, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.

Speaking at the 52nd Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development (CPD) in New York, Pernia cited policies such as the issuance of Executive Order 12 (s.2017) to achieve and sustain zero unmet need for modern family planning by 2022, as well as the inclusion of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law (RA 10354), as among the government’s initiatives on population and development.

Pernia also mentioned the recent approval of the intensified implementation of the National Program on Population and Family Planning.

“Even in the face of challenging political and cultural factors, our country has achieved significant milestones at the outcome and policy levels. For one, access to maternal, neonatal, and child health care services has improved over recent years,” Pernia said.

Pernia explained that while Filipinos continue to increase in number – around two million annually – population growth rate in the Philippines has declined by 1.76 percent.

He added that the country’s current total fertility rate is at 2.7 children per woman, which declined from 5.7 in 1975, 4.3 in 1990 and three in 2013. Pernia attributed the decline to the increased use of modern family planning methods.

Government aims to further bring this down to 2.4 children per woman on average, according to Pernia.

Meanwhile, Pernia said the government continues to pursue policy interventions to reach for and optimize the demographic dividend.

“An important part of the strategy, as laid out in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, is to set in place measures that improve and develop our human capital to full potential,” Pernia said.

He cited the recent enactment of the Universal Health Care Law, which mandates citizens to enroll into the National Health Insurance Program and expands the Program’s coverage to include free medical consultations and laboratory tests.

He added that the government also continues to institutionalize education reforms through the K-12 Program, as well as the provision of free tuition for tertiary students of state universities and colleges.

“Despite remaining gaps, we will vigorously pursue strategic ways to ensure people-centered, self-sustaining development towards the realization of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agenda in the Philippines,” Pernia said.

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