Natural Birth Control Method Didn’t Succeed During Arroyo’s Term Despite Huge Funding – Group

By: Cher S. Jimenez,
August 29, 2012 7:06 PM

Reuters file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Inspite of its huge funding, natural family planning (NFP), the only birth control method implemented by the previous administration, rose to only a few points, according to the non-government Likhaan Center for Women’s Health.

Dr. Junice Melgar, Likhaan executive director, said NFP during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had risen only from .1 to .3 percent “despite the money poured into” it.

According to Melgar, while the Arroyo administration was solely pushing for NFP and depriving Filipinos of modern reproductive health services, the unmet need for family planning rose from 15.7 percent in 2006 to 19.3 percent in 2011. The data is based on the latest Family Health Survey

In 2004, the government awarded P50 million to the Catholic group Couples for Christ (CFC) to promote natural family planning. Reproductive health advocates criticized the move after it was found out that the money was allegedly used by the CFC to fund its religious assemblies where reading materials containing anti-contraceptive messages were written.

“They have yet to account Couples for Christ for that,” Melgar told reporters on Wednesday after a roundtable discussion on adolescent sexual and reproductive health held in Makati City.

Lawyer Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan, director of the University of the Philippines Institute of Human Rights, said the government could be held accountable for favoring one religious group over others.

“The Catholic Church always says that we’re 85 percent Catholic so we have to follow the majority. In the first place, human rights are not subject to political majority. It’s not right for government to pass laws that manifest the teachings of one church. Laws should be secular, these are not religious laws,” said Pangalangan during the same event in Makati.

The government, mandated by the Constitution to make all health services and supplies available to the people, could likewise be held liable for giving in to pressures by Catholic bishops not to pass a reproductive health law, according to Pangalangan.

“This can be questioned and you can hold the government accountable,” added Pangalangan.

Advocates argue that the absence of a reproductive health law, which will force the government to make all family planning services and supplies available to Filipinos, has gravely affected young people.

One of 10 Filipinas aged 15-19 is already a mother. The unmet need for family planning among young people is now estimated at 37 percent according to the 2011 data from the National Statistics Office (NSO).

In 2000, live births by teenage mothers was 126,025. The figure ballooned by 55.25 percent in 2009, according to the NSO.



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