Commentary: Family planning, a major election issue
By Romy Sabaldan
Davao City (21 April) -- WITH the latest survey results indicating that nine out of 10 Filipinos consider family planning important, the issue should easily become a major campaign pitch for candidates of the May 14, 2007 local and national elections.
The Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) said this Friday during a media forum entitled “Sa Paraang Family Planning, Desisyon Ko, Igalang Mo; Sa ‘Yo ang Boto Ko!” held at the Grand Men Seng Hotel, this city.
The press conference which highlighted the Pulse Asia’s March 2007 Ulat Ng Bayan Survey Report on FP also reported that:
Candidates favoring family planning should be supported. Nearly eight out of 10 Filipinos (76%) say a candidate should include family planning in their programs of action; three out of 4 (75%) adult Filipinos will support candidates who are in favor of a government budget for family planning.
About nine in 10 Filipinos (89%) think it is important that government provide budgetary support for modern methods of family planning including the pill, intra-uterine devices (IUD), condoms, ligation and vasectomy.
Family Planning is a winning issue. One in two Filipinos (52%) believes that a candidate’s support for family planning will determine his electoral victory. Forty one percent believe it has no effect, while only 6 percent believe this would mean defeat in the polls.
The report also identified three government agencies (DENR, DepEd and the National Water Resources Board) as having made the link and have begun calls for the “management of population to adequately address the people’s basic needs and ensure a sustainable future for all.”
The PLCPD also lamented the fact that “While surveys have clearly and consistently shown the people’s overwhelming clamor for family planning and reproductive health legislation, programs and services, we are deeply concerned with how the administration has continuously ignored this expressed need by the majority, preferring to hide instead under the false claim that “modern family planning methods are not wholeheartedly accepted by the people.”
PLCPD’s Program Manager Kalayaan Pulido-Constantino also read a statement calling on candidates to “break the silence and apathy on these issues and give the people something relevant to look forward to. We enjoin candidates to take heed of the people’s clamor. Include population and reproductive health in your platform of government. Include them in your discussions with the voting public. Engage other candidates in debates.”
The Mindanao Working Group on RH, Gender and Sexuality represented by Rosena Sanchez also made similar calls and encourage other government leaders to emulate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s vocal support for family planning. (PIA XI) [top]