(Book) Demographic Governance and Family Planning: The Philippines’ Way Forward

(Excerpts from the book)

As of 4 January 2011 (downloadable at http://bixby.berkeley.edu)
Quintin Pastrana (MSt, MBA) and Lauren Harris (MPH, MA)

Executive Summary

1. The Philippines’ population has grown 12-fold since the turn of the century, and will reach over 160 million in 2040 if the current trend (2.04% population growth and 3.03 average fertility rate) persists.
– This has led to the inability of governments to provide adequate social services, while poverty persists at 33%.

2. Women are most affected by the inability to access effective reproductive health information and methods.
– Filipinos suffer from among the highest regional maternal health morbidity and over 500,000 induced abortions annually, and at least half of which can be prevented through a modern family planning program.

3. Poor families are affected by the lack of access to family planning education and methods.
– The country’s persistent high fertility rate (3.03%) vs. more prosperous countries is due to inability of families, especially the marginalized ones, to meet their desired family size.

4. Majority of Filipinos (9 of 10 surveyed) support family planning, particularly modern methods.
– Most Filipinos support the RH bill, politicians who advocate family planning, and the country is the only predominantly Catholic Country that does not have a policy supporting modern family planning methods.

5. Global Sustainable Development Principles and the Philippine Constitution warrant family planning as a fundamental and constitutional right.
– With the country’s biocapacity (resources to sustainably support life) breached, and only 10% of its forest cover, coral reefs, and food self-sufficiency, the Philippines must exercise the globally accepted Precautionary Principle to preserve its remaining resources to ensure the survival and well-being of future generations.

6. The Philippines can learn lessons from how progressive countries with different ideologies and faiths have adopted family planning policies that support their sustainable development.
– Catholic Countries such as Chile and Colombia; Islamic countries such as Iran and Indonesia; and Buddhist countries such as Thailand have shown success in terms of effectively lowering and sustaining fertility rates while improving their socio-economic indicators towards long-term sustainable development.

7. Given these realities, a 5-point Demographic Governance Program must be implemented in the Philippines:
– Funding for Family Planning*. Enabling adequate resources for both modern and natural family planning methods at the national and local level, with public, private, and international sources
– Public Private Partnerships for Family Planning Education*. Coordination of a nation-wide grassroots information and education program by national and local governments, NGOs, churches, and the media.
– Direct Poverty Interventions. Synergistic, coordinated combination of Conditional Cash Transfers, Microfinance & Women’s livelihood, and Informal Settler Housing and Registration (I-SHARE) Program
– Demographic Institutional Alignment*. Consolidate all demographic programs under a Dept. of Population and Migration, or reform Population Commission to manage overall Family Planning Policy.
– Land use and Demographic Monitoring. Finalize Land Use Policy (National and Local Level); Enforce the Urban Housing Development Act, Tax idle lands and use proceeds for I-SHARE Program, and map regional and nationwide demographic movements for better planning and responses.

8. By balancing resources with sustainable demographic demand, this enables the ff. Key Result Areas (KRAs) in 10 years and allows the Philippines to meet its commitments to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals:
– Increase contraceptive prevalence rate from under 50% to above 70%,
– Reduce unintended abortions to half (under 250,000/annually)
– Lower total fertility rate from 3.03% to 2.1% (sustainable replacement rate)
– Increase Health and Education budgetary spending by 30%
– Improve GDP per capita and Human Development Indexes, and lower poverty rates 33% to 25%

*requires national legislation and complementary local regulations to ensure sustainability, optimal reach, and positive outcomes

(Click on the link below to download and view the rest of the book)

Source: http://bixby.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Family-Planning-Policy-Brief-1-4-111.pdf

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