Following results of the 2010 Population and Housing Survey by the National Statistics Office (NSO), a group of leading reproductive health (RH) advocates calls on Congress anew to pass the highly clamored RH bill.
Ramon San Pascual, Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation (PLCPD) Executive Director reminds Congress of its obligation to enact a law that will institutionalize the provision of a comprehensive reproductive health education and services.
“The figures revealed by the latest NSO census, underscores the need for a firmer and more comprehensive provision of RH education and services,” said San Pascual. “These figures say that all the more, the government needs population and development planning, which can be provided through an RH law,” he explained.
The Philippines population growth rate of 1.9 percent, which is still one of the highest in Asia, is the result of the absence of comprehensive RH policy aggravated further by the lack of access to family planning education and services by the poor.
Citing the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey, San Pascual laments that thirty three (33) percent of the total pregnancies among Filipino women are either mistimed or unplanned. “It is disheartening that as we grow rapidly, the number of babies born comes from the poor, who in the first place are not ready to carry the burden of having yet another child or children for that matter. “
San Pascual notes that the Philippines could manage our population growth rate if our lawmakers and policymakers will bravely address the issue of unplanned and mistimed pregnancies by providing RH education and services.
“It is expected to see population growth rate going down, but we should not look at the figures per se. We should understand that population is still growing fast,” he said. “And the fact is, more babies are born from poor families, from those who do not have access to comprehensive RH education and services,” he stressed.
The controversial House Bill 4244 or the “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act” and its Senate counterpart SB 2378 are awaiting approval on second reading in both chambers of Congress. Said bill is endorsed by the academe, interfaith based organizations, labor and employers group, women, youth, peoples, and civil society organizations.