Family Planning

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In February, news reports told the public that the Iglesia ni Cristo stood firm on its policy on birth control, such as condom use, even of the new administration had indicated that it would collaborate with the Catholic Church in promoting responsible parenthood through natural means of contraception. (PD Inquirer, Feb. 14)

Also around the same period, the Pro-life Philippines Foundation, Inc., a non-government organization (NGO) against abortion and the use of abortifacient drugs, argued that reproductive health is just a sanitized term for abortion. Its members assailed the Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive Health for allegedly advocating the legalization of abortion in the country. (Manila Standard, Feb. 15)

NGOs cited the Catholic Church’s influence on the population program as a big factor on the government’s failure to reverse the population trend in the country and offered to initiate a campaign to foster responsible parenthood based on conscience. (Malaya, Mar. 15)

The Commission on Population (PopCom), on the other hand, said that population growth threatens the country’s economic progress. According to PopCom, the country needs to cut its population growth rate in order to escape the cycle of perpetual poverty. (Today, Mar. 15; Philippine Star, Mar. 15)

In late March, President Macapagal-Arroyo expressed confidence that her government and the Catholic Church won’t clash over the implementation of the population program. She said that she would leave it to the couples to decide which FP methods would suit them. (Manila Bulletin, Mar. 21)

On the abortion side, the State of the Philippine Population Report 2000 disclosed that 400,000 abortions are performed in the country annually. Most of these cases, the study said, involve young students who terminated their pregnancies because they were unprepared to become parents yet. (Philippine Star, Mar. 23)

In a public opinion survey conducted by Pulse Asia, Inc., 9 out of 10 Filipinos agreed on the importance of family planning now that the country’s population reached 76.5 million. (Manila Standard, May 13)

Meanwhile, the National Statistics Office released the results of its latest census in mid-May. It said that Navotas is the most populated town in Metro Manila with 88,617 per square kilometer. Pasig (35,851 per square kilometer) and Pasay (25,533 per square kilometer) cities ranked second and third, respectively. (Manila Standard, May. 17)

Still on the same study, It was reported that the Southern Tagalog population is now 11.8 million. Tailing as 2nd and 3rd region with biggest population is National Capital Region (9.9 million) and Central Luzon (8 million), respectively. (Manila Bulletin, May 17)

The DOH pilot-tested the “necklace method” or Standard Days Method, a family planning procedure wherein a necklace helps a woman keep track of her fertile and infertile days without having to count or chart, sometime in May. The necklace represents the menstrual cycle with differently colored beads representing the different phases of the cycle. (Daily Tribune, May 24)

In June, PopCom reported that 40% of Filipino women from poor households were found to be most likely to practice family planning. (Daily Tribune, June 2)

As a response to a formal complaint from The Family Front, a coalition of Pro-life advocates, the DOH ordered Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) in July to review the registration of Postinor (also known as “morning-after pill”) and the possibility that it is not just a mere contraceptive but can induce abortion as well. (Today, July 8)

PopCom said that family planning is most crucial in reducing the poverty level, as more than 30 million Filipinos are now living below the poverty line. (Daily Tribune, July 26)

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