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PIA Press Release
2007/04/20

Commentary: Family planning, a free choice for the Filipino family

By Jessie R. Valdez

San Fernando City, La Union (20 April) -- Family planning is not a moral issue. It is simply a way of responding to the realities of having large families where competition is more intense, where children compete for food, medicines, educational resources, clothes and parental attention for reasons parents could not afford to support seven or more children.

Considering life in the slums, where lots of scavengers earn for survival, young and old mothers bringing their children to government feeding centers as well as in government health centers. They are the families with no family planning at all or don’t heed to spacing of children. They keep on producing babies and when hard up supporting their children, they blame the government for such scenario which should not be the case.

According to reports, the country’s population today has surged/ballooning and the number of poor people expanding and this has contributed difficulty for the government to meet global standards on education, child & mother health, jobs, women’s rights, environment and other basic needs. Overpopulation also resulted to the rise of poverty in the country, downgraded the quality of public & secondary education, resulted more hunger among children while unemployment rate rises. Overcrowded areas also tend to destroy environment, as it contributes to the destruction of impending global warming disasters.

For these reasons, more Filipino couples now want artificial contraception as a method of family planning and even urged the government allocate funds for it in a bid to help the government curb the country’s growing population which has seriously hampered the government’s ability to deliver basic services as well as they want to provide quality life for their children.

According to Pulse Asia survey released April 13, nine out of ten or 89% Filipinos clamor funding support from the government for modern family planning methods meaning, they support artificial birth control methods like pills, IUD, condoms, litigation & vasectomy.

In response to the clamor, Senator Ralph Recto said in a statement, the Government has allocated P150 million for artificial family planning and P1 million for natural family planning.

Responsible parenthood on the other hand, as some says, is not meant solely for procreation but parents have to balance their faith and duty to their family. It’s the responsibility of parents to decide how many children they should have and can afford to support and reasonably care for. And part of being responsible is know what type of family planning method suits the couple.

The Office of the Population Commission here said, they’ve intensified their information education campaign program in remote and thickly populated barangays (doing it continuously / year-round basis) on how families plan the number of their children, spacing and timing of their children as well as have access to safe and effective methods of family planning as long as it does not interfere with fertilization.

“Couples they say have the free choice, and they understand the urgency of addressing population explosion, poverty, teenage pregnancy and maternal deaths.”

Family planning programs make an impact in helping families rise above poverty. Even if the government gives the best intensions to provide jobs, education or increase welfare, it will take a hard time seeing the results if the problem of large families/population explosion in the country still remains. Reports said, the Church should understand the need to deal with it and listen to majority of the people the urgency of the matter, a problem that we should all be concerned. (PIA La Union) [top]

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