August 15, 2022
Cagayan de Oro City – A better health and better life is always a dream not only for Filipino families but normally for most families around the world. Yet, realizing it is still a question. Family Planning (FP) is one of the strategies offered by the government to make this dream a reality. FP is not only about contraceptives. It is a voluntary and shared act of couples to plan, decide and take action on: what their aspirations are for their family and how to achieve them; how many children to have; when to have the next baby; what methods to use to achieve their desired number of children, and how to seek help so they can have children. Couples need to agree on their desired family size as it affects their capacity to provide for their family needs including their health, own personal aspirations and development goals.
Sec. 12, Art. II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution among others says that it is the duty of the State to protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution and equally protect the life of the mother and the life, welfare and rights of children, the youth, and the unborn from conception.
As a continuum promotion of the FP program, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM), the Department of Health (DOH) and USAID ReachHealth jointly celebrate Family Planning (FP) Month every August of the year. “Bata,Bata, Planado kang Ginawa!” is the theme for this year’s commemoration with the subtheme “Usap Tayo Sa Family Planning dahil ang Pamilyang Planado, Protektado!”
The FP month’s celebration theme intends that all Filipinos of reproductive age will understand how important and beneficial is FP to the overall health and well-being of the population. That those who are 18-25 years old, would be aware of their reproductive health, able to plan for the right family size, and would practice healthy sexual behaviors.
That they will realize how family size is interrelated to family development in particular and to community development in general.
The observance of FP month this year has 3 key messages as follows:
Key message 1: Usap Tayo, Mare at Pare sa family planning!
Key message 2: Usap Tayo Mare at Pare sa inyong plano
Key message 3: Usap Tayo Mare at Pare sa inyong napiling method!
It is good to note that the FHSIS in Region X showed that the number of modern FP acceptors has increased by 28% in 2020. This is equivalent to 32% of the total women of reproductive age (WRA) or 67% of the married women of reproductive age (MWRA).
Amid the COVID-19 surge for the past 2 years, and with the adaptation of the COVID context, POPCOM and DOH ensured uninterrupted services for women/couples and young people who wanted to avail maternal health, family planning including supplies, and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) protection. These included helplines, clear referral pathways and even community and home FP services. POPCOM then embraced the idea of Dr. Leila Joudane, UNFPA Country Representative in the Philippines who emphasized that sustained attention and support to women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health choices and rights, and freedom from violence are equally important as continually fighting against COVID-19. Thus, the increase of modern FP method users in 2020.
POPCOM Usec and Executive Director, Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, for his part said,“Ultimately, the leaders and workers from the barangays are the ‘on-the-ground’ implementers of health services and programs like family planning. We enjoin them to continue working with us in our crusade to enable a secure and comfortable life for every Filipino family. POPCOM appreciates them, our FP partners, for their tireless collaboration”.
In a survey commissioned by the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) conducted by Pulse Asia in March 22 with 60% respondents from Metro Manila, 55% from Visayas and 63% from Mindanao, showed that 88% or almost 9 out of 10 adults believe that it is important for the government to allocate adequate public funds for modern methods of family planning such as pills, injectables, sub-dermal implants, IUD, condom, ligation and vasectomy. This confirmed the appreciation and the need of FP among the adults of the nation.
With the FP program, the government wishes that every pregnancy is wanted, and that couples will have their desired number of children according to their capacity to sustain. As such, a better health and a better life for the families will become a reality.