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PIA Press Release

Dumaguete eyes starting male advocacy group for repro health, family planning

by Rachelle M. Nessia

Dumaguete City (29 August) -- The Dumaguete City Population Office is eyeing to replicate Ayungon's male reproductive health organization in the hopes of increasing advocacy and awareness levels among men in Dumaguete City.

In a Kapihan forum held August 27 by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) here, City Population Officer Laume Quijote has expressed interest in starting a Male Advocates and Champions for Reproductive Health Options (MACHO) group in Dumaguete.

Quijote lamented that family planning is "belittled" and not given importance by men who perceive this as something only for women.

The new city population officer, who was impressed by what MACHO has achieved in Ayungon, said her office is planning to replicate the same men-talking-to-men approach in Dumaguete City.

Quijote's plan to start a MACHO group in Dumaguete has already scored points from City Councilor and physician Dr. Noel de Jesus, who aired his interest in joining the MACHO group.

"I'd like to become a MACHO. What should I do?" asked Dr. de Jesus to Ayungon Municipal Councilor Juvileo Acabal who leads the MACHO group in the said town and was one of the speakers during the Kapihan forum.

MACHO was initiated in Ayungon town by the Provincial Population Office led by Jeanette Villarubia together with local non-government organizations advocating reproductive health and family planning.

Since its birth, MACHO has covered considerable ground in its advocacy efforts, holding forums where men talk to other men about the benefits and importance of family planning (FP), reproductive health (RH) and responsible parenthood.

MACHO is composed of local legislators as well as vasectomized clients and one of their goals is to erase myths and wrong beliefs about RH and FP among men. "We conduct orientations and training for men in Ayungon and also in other towns," said Acabal.

He stressed that men play an important role in RH and FP as "it takes two to tango." "Men should not be embarrassed in discussing RH and FP. They should not delegate to women their involvement," he said.

Acabal disclosed that through MACHO's efforts, the Sangguniang Bayan in Ayungon allocated P100,000 as annual budget for health supplies. "And this is subject to increase every year," he said.

Records from the Negros Oriental Provincial Health (NOPH) office show that Negros Oriental has a population of 1,231,900 in 2007.

Of the total, there are 178,626 women of reproductive age, said Cristina Dagle, NOPH In Charge.

Current family planning method users total to 85,196 in Negros Oriental. (PIA/RMN) [top]

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