Duterte gov’t eyes 70% contraceptive prevalence rate in PHL

MANILA (PNA) -- With the signing of Executive Order No. 12 by President Rodrigo Duterte, the government is hoping to reach 70 percent contraceptive prevalence rate in the Philippines by year 2022.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) director general Ernesto Pernia said the Philippines has only 40 to 45 percent contraceptive prevalence rate while Thailand and Bangladesh reach up 75% each.

"So we really need to wrap up our contraceptive prevalence rate to around 70%, 65 at least, better 70% in order to achieve zero unmeet need for family planning," Pernia said in a Palace press briefing.

On the other hand, Commission on Population Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III predicted that population growth rate might go down from 1.6 million to 1.4 million per year if the EO No. 12 on "Zero Unmeet Need for Family Planning" will be fully implemented in the next six years.

"If this program is fully implemented by up to 2022, we predict that the population growth rate might go down around 1.4," Perez said.

The joint efforts of the NEDA and the Department of Health (DOH) to push further the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act (RPRH Law) has been realized with the signing of EO NO. 12 last January 9.

This order aims 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 all of Filipinos thereafter.

In 2012, Congress has approved RPRH Law but temporary restraining order (TRO) filed at the Supreme Court (SC) has prevented the government from implementing it for the last four years.

Pernia said if the RPRH law will be fully implemented, the government will not be able to meet the poverty reduction from 22 percent to at least 13 percent by the end of the Duterte administration.

"The government cannot continue to tolerate this delay in judgment because time is of the essence as far as the implementation of the RPRH law is concerned. Everyday about 11 women die from complications of pregnancy and delivery," Pernia said.

"As you know, teenage pregnancies have been rising. In other countries, teenage pregnancies are diminishing but in the Philippines, it's rising," he added.

For his part, Perez said the TRO affects 7.3 million Filipino women, "most of which belong to the lowest wealth quintile with high unmet need for Family Planning."

President Duterte has been vocal about the need for Family Planning program in the country and even stressed the full implementation of the RPRH Law in his first State of the Nation Address.

Perez said EO defined unmet need as "couples and women who are fecund and sexually active and want to limit or space their children but are not using any modern method of contraception."

"SC's TRO only covers the use of subdermal implant," he said.

Pernia said families are encouraged not to have more children than they can afford to take care of and provide for under the EO.

The Philippines' population is 104 million as of December last year, according to the Commission on Population.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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