January 28, 2021
The Commission on Population and Development – Region X urged local government units (LGUs) to continue and intensify the delivery and provision of responsible parenthood and family planning family planning (RPFP) information and services in their respective localities to mitigate the surge of unintended pregnancies.
Citing the study conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI), “The Potential Impact of COVID 19 on the SRH in the Philippines” in May 2020, the number of unintended pregnancies among women aged 15-49 years old may increase by 42% resulting in an additional of 751,000 cases due to community quarantine induced service reduction. This will bring the total number of unintended pregnancies to 2,560,000 or 7,014 cases of unintended pregnancies a day.
In region 10, it is estimated that about 38,761 unplanned pregnancies will be added in 2020 or about 106 unplanned pregnancies daily.
The significant increase of unplanned pregnancies in the Philippines, particularly in Northern Mindanao, may narrow down the momentum of the socio-economic gains achieved before the pandemic particularly the reduction of poverty and the increase in contraceptive prevalence rate (cPR) among women.
On the other hand, another major concern which LGUs need to give attention to is the increasing incidence of teenage pregnancy. As shown in the 2017 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) of the Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA), Northern Mindanao ranks second among regions in terms of the highest teenage pregnancy rate at 14.7%, next only to the Davao region at 17.9%.
The adolescent birth rate (ABR) of region 10 is at 52.5 in 2017. The ABR measures the annual number of births to women 15 to 19 years of age per 1,000 women in that age group.
POPCOM X cautions LGUs that the pre-existing conditions of our population will be amplified with the outstretch of COVID-19 pandemic. The programs implemented by the local population offices to help achieve AmbisyonNatin 2040 of the national government were gaining traction, only to be disrupted by the worldwide malady. Thus, strategic interventions of the LGUs, where problems are best resolved, are needed to be fast-tracked to alleviate the challenges of improving the quality of life of all Filipinos.
To further harness the efforts of the LGUs, the localization of the Philippine Population Management Program (PPMP) took place to provide more opportunity for them to be innovative and proactively manage their population resources.
POPCOM X recounts the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular No 2019-100 which calls for LGUs to designate local population officers and mobilization of community officials, volunteers and workers to intensify the implementation of National Program on Population and Family Planning (NPPFP).
The provision of FP services, supply of FP commodities, and other technical assistance are some of the support which POPCOM-X may provide to the LGUs. Moreover, the Commission also emphasizes that responsible parenthood and family planning (RPFP) and adolescent health and development (AHD), as health-related programs, is a divulged responsibility to the local governments by virtue of the local government code. Hence, the LGUs have the accountability, in collaboration with the regional line agencies such as POPCOM, to execute the mandate of the RPRH law.
In a statement, POPCOM X Acting Regional Director Neil Aldrin Omega expressed that, “the achievement of the demographic dividend as an indicator in achieving the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and AmbisyonNatin 2040 lies in the hands of the full support and commitment of the LGUs.”
“We in POPCOM X are committed to help the LGUs in the implementation of RPFP, AHD, and other PPMP programs. Now, more than ever, we need to manage our population because our economy has been significantly affected by the pandemic. We cannot afford for another crisis to persist while we battle the existing ones,” Omega added.