The Commission on Population Region 10 celebrates the entire month of August as Family Planning Month with the theme “Kapag ang pamilya ay planado, laging panalo”. The theme implies POPCOM’s unrelenting advocacy on the benefits of using modern family planning methods among reproductive-age couples. POPCOM believes that by using modern FP methods, couples will have much better lives. This is also one of the best ways to combat poverty.

But even how noble the purposes of the Family Planning program are, some sectors still oppose its implementation. One manifestation is the Supreme Court’s (SC) issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Implanon. “A total of P250 million will go into waste if this TRO will not be lifted this year, all Implanon purchased will expire in 2018”, POPCOM-10 Regional Director Jeremias C. Gupit said.

Implanon is a contraceptive rod containing the hormone etonogestrel, which is similar to the naturally occurring hormone progesterone, made by a woman’s ovaries. It is about the size of a match – four centimeters long and two millimeters wide. It is inserted under the skin of the inner upper arm. Once inserted, it can be felt, but not easily seen. Implanon is the most effective reversible method of contraception available. It is more than 99.9% effective. It stops the body from releasing an ovum (egg) each month and it thickens the mucus in the cervix (the entrance to the womb), which blocks sperm thus preventing women of reproductive age from getting pregnant.

However, President Rodrigo Duterte’s frustration on the said TRO gave POPCOM and other concerned agencies a glimmer of hope. During his state of the nation address (SONA), he asked the supreme court to lift the TRO on Implanon. President Duterte reiterated his support to the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law (RPRH). He wants Filipinos to have the freedom to choose the size of their families.

“POPCOM 10 stays committed to reaching to couples and individuals who want to practice family planning. Family Planning counseling through home visits is being done by 1,042 Barangay Population Volunteers in the Region. So far, 12,436 couples received information on family planning. Out of the 3,219 unmet need, 2,214 were served with the method they preferred.” Director Gupit said.

POPCOM-10 has seen the need to obtain and maintain strong partnerships with the local government units to strengthen the RPFP program in the region. As to date, 300 local planners and decision-makers were oriented on Population Management Program and RPRH law. All of them are supportive of the program and many have even pledged to support it financially.