NEDA: Philippines needs sustained family planning program
PopCom officials lead the launch of the No More Children Having Children campaign in Quezon City yesterday.
Michael Varcas

NEDA: Philippines needs sustained family planning program

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – As the Philippines makes progress with its initiatives in family planning, sustained implementation of the programs by the next administrations is needed to achieve better population development, the chief of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

“We are making inroads now, in terms of access to family planning services, (reducing) abortion of unwanted pregnancies,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in an interview recently with “The Chiefs” on OneNews.

“The use of modern contraceptives by women has gone up,” Pernia said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Pernia lamented the discontinued implementation of family planning in the past decades, noting that the country would have benefited from it by now. 

“If only we were able to sustain our family planning program. We started early in 1969; Thailand, I think 1979. They sustained it over three, four decades but us, I think it was discontinued,” Pernia said, adding that religious and other conservative groups called off implementation of the program in the 1970s.

Pernia said the Philippines and Thailand had similar population statistics in the 1970s at around 37 million each.

“We are now 107 million, while Thailand is only 69 million and they have lower poverty,” Pernia said.

The NEDA director general emphasized the need for stronger family planning measures in the country, explaining the relation between population growth and poverty.

“The poor, they only want about three or four children at the most but they’re having six, and that’s why it’s very hard to reduce poverty,” Pernia said.

“If we had been successful in sustaining our family planning program, our poverty rate would be similar to Thailand, which is now about nine percent,” he stressed.

Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the nationwide poverty incidence fell to 21 percent in the first half of 2018, compared to the 27.6 percent in the first half of 2015.

Under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, the government is targeting to cut the poverty rate to 14 percent by 2022.

Moreover, Pernia expressed hope that future administrations will continue its current programs on family planning.

“We’re really going full blast now in terms of spreading modern contraceptives,” Pernia said.

“Under this administration, we aim to lift about six million Filipinos out of poverty,” he added.

Earlier this year, Pernia emphasized that the government is redoubling efforts in implementing the country’s population and family planning program, referred to as the National Program on Population and Family Planning (NPPFP).

Pernia cited the issuance of Executive Order 71 in December 2018 as a significant measure in implementing the government’s family planning program.




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