2018 World Population Day Highlights Family Planning as a Human Right
The Philippines joins the international community as it observes the World Population Day (WPD) on July 11, 2018. The population day is celebrated annually focusing attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. For 2018, the observance banners the theme: “Family Planning is a Human Right”.
For the national celebration, the Commission on Population (POPCOM), in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other stakeholders, will hold a Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning (RPFP) Caravan which aims to provide RPFP information and services to around 800 urban poor communities in Disiplina Village, Bignay, Valenzuela City. These services are Family Planning (FP) Counseling, Medical/Dental services, Pap smear services, laboratory testing, implant insertion and provision of FP commodities.
POPCOM Executive Director Juan Antonio A. Perez III said, “We recognize that access to Family Planning (FP) information and services is a right that everyone is entitled to and we must work together so that nobody will be left behind. Investing in FP is investing in the health and rights of women and couples worldwide for them to be empowered and eventually achieve a better quality of life”, said Dr. Perez. “FP is not just about access to contraceptives but also a human development as we empower them to make their choices”, Dr. Perez added.
Dr. Perez III also stressed that the government is determined to respect, promote and ultimately fulfill the promise of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) law, that is, to provide universal access to family planning information and services for all women and couples.
UNFPA Country Representative Klaus Beck also added that, "When a woman can plan her family, she can plan her life. She can pursue more education, seek and keep better jobs, and contribute more to her family and her country with the benefits carrying over well into the future. This is why it is crucial that we ensure a woman's right to family planning".
According to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the fertility rate of women in the Philippines dropped from an average of three children, down to 2.7. However, teenage pregnancy still remains high with 9 percent of women age 15-19 having begun childbearing. PSA data also state that there are more than 200,000 women who are pregnant with 130,000 minors giving birth every year and needing FP and adolescent health services.
Last year, President Duterte issued Executive Order No. 12 to intensify and accelerate the implementation of critical actions necessary to attain and sustain “zero unmet need for modern family planning” for all poor households by 2018 and beyond. He also repeatedly articulated in previous State of the Nation Address the full implementation of the RPRH Law. It can be recalled that the Temporary Restraining Order on the provision of family planning services was lifted in November 2017 when the FDA certified 51 contraceptives as non-abortifacient as required by the Supreme Court’s decision.
The Republic Act No. 10354, otherwise known as “The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012” (RPRH Law), is a landmark legislation that laid the foundation to respect, protect and fulfill the reproductive health and rights of all Filipinos toward better health outcomes, and socioeconomic growth and development.
The RPFP caravan will be held simultaneously with similar activities across regions in collaboration with local government units. The activities include press conferences, fora, media guesting, film showing, provision of FP services, interactive activities on RH with adolescents (U4U) and KATROPA or Kalalakihang Tapat sa Responsibilidad at Obligasyon sa Pamilya for men among others.