CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -–Commission on Population (Popcom) Regional Director Jeremias Gupit in Talakayan sa PIA on World Population Day, July 11, said President Rodrigo Duterte asked the agency to attain zero unmet need on family planning.
This means, every Filipino woman must be able to get informed choice on the different family planning methods (natural and artificial) for her chosen family size at the same time availability and access to her chosen method.
He said, family planning is a human right issue. It is not just limiting the number of children and managing population, but it has a direct relationship to the needs of the population.
“We cannot take away family planning when we talk about developmental initiatives that is why it is interrelated,” he said.
Based on 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey conducted on September 2017 covering 30, 588 households and 33, 619 individuals, the total fertility rate of women aged 15-49 years old in Northern Mindanao remains high at 2.7 in 2017. Although it dropped down from 4.1 in 1991, it is still higher than the anticipated fertility level of 2.1 for 2017.
Meanwhile, teenage pregnancy and motherhood shows roughly one in ten women ages 15-19 have begun childbearing. Region 10 posed second in highest cases of teenage pregnancy in the country with 14.7 percent. This means, in 100 girls, 14-15 of them are pregnant or have already given birth.
Sexuality education should begin in the homes, he said. “Unta sa balay gyud, second lang unta ang eskwelahan but what happens is that in the homes dili kita gatudlo kay it is a taboo (It should begin in the home, second is in school but what happens in that in the homes, we do not teach because it is still taboo)."
National Economic Development Authority (Neda) Regional Director Engr. Leon Dacanay Jr. explained, "We should reduce birth rate because we want to have a population size that that has less dependents and more people in the workforce. This is called the Demographic Dividend."
Our population in the country is like a pyramid, Dacanay said. There are more kids in our population pyramid which means there is higher dependency ratio. Dependency indicates that social services should be provided for such population. Hence, bigger chunk of the budget goes to the younger age group.
The labor force is 15-24 years old, Dacanay explained. Thus, being in the labor force should make one productive, but if the person is not, then it is a problem.
The ideal family size for the country, is one family, two children. Tendency, he said, is that poor families have bigger family size, around six to eight children which makes it problematic. If a household has lower income, they better opt for a small-sized family.
Dacanay explained that people must understand the importance of family planning because government programs and services are voluntary. They are not forced to people. Couples must realize that they need family planning and they understand why they need to do it.
Meawnhile, Lawyer Roschelle Bagas, chief Legal Section of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) shared the country needs to have a paradigm shift. She clarified that family planning is not the burden of the women only but of the couple, both partners.
“Naa'y katungod ang magtiayon manganak but naa pud sila corresponding obligation to give humane nga kinabuhi sailang mga bata (Married couples have the right to have a child but they also have corresponding obligation to give humane life to their children)," Bagas explained. (JMOR/PIA10)
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