Tuguegarao City, Cagayan- Partners from the different government line agencies and civil society organizations (CSOs) through the Regional Population Executive Board (RPEB); and the local government units (LGUs) through the municipal, city and provincial population officers (MCPPOs) in the region expressed their full support to the “Ambisyon Natin 2040” vision of the government during the Regional Population Management Program Strategic Planning Workshop for 2017-2022 held at the Regional Population Training Center, Tuguegarao City last 24 January 2017.
“The Philippine Population Management Agenda is anchored on the national development direction of the Duterte Administration. It is aimed at building and nurturing ‘Matatag, Maginhawa, at Planadong Pamilyang Pilipino’ by enabling every Filipino individual and family to achieve their desired number and spacing of children within the demands of responsible parenthood and principles of informed choice” (The PPMP Program of Action for 2017-2022).
Said workshop focused on laying out action plans and concrete programs, projects and activities (PPAs) to resolve two pressing population issues in Region 2 particularly: (1) high fertility; and (2) high teenage pregnancy for the next six (6) years through the collective efforts of the national government down to the local level.
Contraceptive prevalence rates in the region were consistently higher than the national average, but fertility slowly declined and desired number of children of couples in the region was not met. Use of traditional methods still remained for the past 20 years. Based from the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2013, trends in unmet for family planning (FP) also show a large decline from 19.8 percent in 2008 to 15.6 percent in 2013. However, translating the 15.6 unmet need for FP into absolute number means that there are around 55,000 women of reproductive ages (WRA) who want to limit their children and to space their pregnancies but are not able to do so due to various reasons.
On the other hand, adolescent pregnancies are also in the rise. More than its demographic implications, early pregnancy among adolescents poses life-long implications that may likely undermine their capacity to achieve their aspirations. Teenage fertility in Region 2 has more than tripled (from 5.6 in 2002 to 18.1 in 2013) in the past decades based from the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFSS 4). It is also alarming that Region 2 is number 2 all over the country when it comes to the high incidence of teenage pregnancy based from the same study with 18.1 percent; with the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) as number one with 18.4 percent. Both regions are higher than the national percentage of 13.6.
The participants presented their current and proposed interventions on the three program components of the PPMP namely: Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning (RPFP); Adolescent Health and Development (AHD) and Population and Development (POPDEV) Integration.
POPCOM Region II has been actively conducting different AHD interventions for the past years in schools and communities like: Teenage Pregnancy Symposium; U4U Teen Trail Initiative; Breaking the Barrier Sessions; “Kalalakihang Tapat sa Responsibilidad at Obligasyon sa Pamilya (KATROPA)”; and Peer Helping Program through the support of the regional government line agencies, LGUs, and CSOs.
On the other hand, the PPMP will be pursued to empower Filipino families and communities as a critical factor in attaining Ambisyon Natin 2014 and the key thrusts of the Philippine Health Agenda (PHA) particularly the achievement of the zero-unmet need for modern family planning (MFP) to conform to the Executive Order No. 12 which is the attainment and sustaining of the zero unmet need for MFP.
As directed by POPCOM Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez III, the Population Management Program of Action 2017-2022 will serve as the collaborative framework for all stakeholders to spell-out critical action areas and key strategies within the major population programs in the country.#