COMMISSION on Population (Popcom) Regional Director Elnora Pulma in Eastern Visayas on Wednesday, July 11, led the region’s efforts in promoting family planning as a human right in observance of this year’s World Population Day.
“Looking at a macro level, family planning was naturally conceptualized to a birth, to the unprecedented population of a country. But if you look at the micro level, the very objective of the family planning is to respond to the need of the family to improve the life of each member of the family particularly their children,” Pulma told reporters during a press briefing in Tacloban City.
As it is estimated, around 30 percent of the world’s population growth is due to unwanted or accidental pregnancies, Pulma said that the possibility to control the fertility of men and women worldwide is a human right and which is something that they yearn to achieve.
While various resolutions and conventions have been pushed to “affirm” the importance of family planning, the Popcom official added this remains inaccessible to millions of women in developing countries around the world and even in the Philippines.
According to the Popcom, many factors are said to contribute to this gap like “limited availability of care, costs and a traditional and religious belief which limit men and women to access family planning methods.”
“These obstacles hinder their reproductive rights which we consider as a human right,” said Pulma.
The official maintained that “a critical challenge is to ensure that policies and programs embrace the well-established benefits of enabling women to choose whether and when to become pregnant.”
"Family planning is not only a human right as it is central to gender equality and women's empowerment, and a key in reducing poverty. Family planning is also a responsibility for the future of every innocent child brought forth into this world, and being able to secure for the child's future," she said.
These actions and values are integral to human rights, she added.
In the Philippines, the population will rise from 105.53 million in 2017 to 107.19 million by the end of 2018, based on the projections by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The increase would be boosted by some 1.8 million babies expected to be born this year, representing a growth rate of 1.69 percent, Popcom said.
Meanwhile, Pulma said that this year’s World Population Day also “seeks to draw attention to this problem as the present administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is keen in attaining and sustaining unmet need and the urgency of other population issues.”
She assured the public that their agency, in partnership with the Department of Health and local government units, already have various programs and measures in place in support to the needs of each couple on their family planning method.
Pulma added that they are also collaborating with the Department of Education on the reproductive health education program.
Edgar Tenasas, Leyte Division Assistant Schools Division superintendent, lauded the efforts of Popcom to curb unwanted pregnancies among the youths.
“Dealing teenage pregnancy issues is not only a concern of Popcom. Such should also be lodge upon every school in the country. Part of our academic exercises is the inclusion of social issues like teenage pregnancy so that our students should have an idea of its pros and cons,” Tenasas said.
According to the Leyte education official, a concerned school contributes to a progressive community.