May 27, 2022
Pandemic, political divisions, poverty—the Philippines has been through issues that exist long before; issues that have significant effects on the lives of the Filipino people. But one prevalent problem that Pilipinos continue to face is unplanned pregnancies. Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, POPCOM’s executive director, stated that “While the numbers are staggering, this should sound the alarm for everyone that as the pandemic rages on, family planning should still be top-of-mind for everyone—not only for those directly involved in service-delivery, but also for men and women—mothers and fathers, and even our teenage children—who can make a difference by doing their very best to avoid being added as a statistic to the numbers; that is, to ensure that they help reduce the incidences of unplanned pregnancies.
But over the years, Filipino women have learned to take a stand on exercising their health sexual and reproductive health rights. This empowerment fuels their willingness to learn more about family planning and access FP services that fit their needs. POPCOM is also doubling its efforts in order to reach out to those in hard-to-reach areas, communities with lacking or insufficient FP services offered, and women with inadequate knowledge on family planning and its methods.
Based on the result of the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2017, on birth planning, 16% of women wanted to get pregnant at a later time in their life and 11% wanted no more. To address this issue, the Commission on Population and Development – Region X conducted a series of Family Planning Outreach in Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, and Lanao del Norte (top 3 provinces in Northern Mindanao with the highest population) in the middle to last week of April 2022. POPCOM X – Field Operations Support Section team, together with the participation of POPCOM – Central Office FP Itinerant Team composed of Dr. Luis Garcia Jr., Ms. Joy Evangelista, and Ms. Ligaya Cawas, began their FP Outreach in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon (headed by Ms. Pretchelle B. Carumba) and Barangay Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro City (led by Ms. Sherlyn V. Subrado), respectively.
These services continued, with both Ms. Subrado and Ms. Carumba covering different areas to ensure that more people can avail of POPCOM’s family planning services. In 11 days, the team visited 13 cities and municipalities and provided services to more than 400 women. The areas where they conducted their outreach are Malaybalay City, Malitbog, and Kibawe in Bukidnon; Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental; Barangays Lumbia, Carmen, Bulua, and Macabalan in Cagayan de Oro City; and Baroy, Kapatagan, Maigo, and Kolambugan in Lanao del Norte. Progestin Sub-Dermal Implant (PSI), No-Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV), Bilateral Tubal Ligation (BTL), Injectables, and Pills were five of the many methods that were available and provided during the FP Outreach. 435 women and 2 men availed of the services: 378 for PSI, 4 for Injectables, 2 for Pills, 2 for NSV, and 51 for BTL.
These clients who benefited from the services knew and understood the importance of family planning—its role in the home and community. With FP, they can now focus their attention on their children and, just as equally important, themselves. For the women, they exercised their reproductive health rights so that they can give their best in providing holistic nurturing for their families. And as for the men, the brave two who wholeheartedly underwent NSV, they serve as an example to husbands who understand and listen to the needs of their families—the wife’s health and the children’s wellbeing. With this, they can prevent unplanned pregnancies, thus, giving sufficient attention and provision to each of their child’s needs.
Despite the increasing number, POPCOM is able and ready to provide solutions through family planning services to Pilipinos with one goal in mind: empowering Pilipino families.