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PIA Press Release
2006/10/11

Evardone: Managing population is not abortion

By Alice E. Nicart

Borongan, Eastern Samar (11 October) -- Population management does mean abortion, so said Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone in his keynote address recently during the launching of Local Legislators League on Population, Health Environment and Development (3LPHED) at the provincial capitol.

Evardone who himself believes in a small family size, as still far better than a large one because parents can readily meet the education, health and other basic needs of their children. Thus he stressed, that there is a need for couples to understand the implications of very close spacing of child birth against those which are spaced by at least three years.

In Finland where the Governor went with President Gloria Arroyo recently, he observed that the huge land area of the country have only about five million people; many couples have only one child and their unemployment rate at 15% is very much higher than the Philippines? 11%. But it does not mean that there are less employment opportunities in Finland, Evardone reported; it is because many refuse to work because they are subsidized by the government. Apparently, the country must be capable to provide not only the basic needs of their people. The Governor even mentioned of Mercedez Benz and Volvos plying the routes of Finland as taxi cabs.

Back to his homeland, Evadone added in his speech that while he believes in small family size, he, just like the Population Management Program of the Government, is also pro-life. He therefore urged the Sangguniang Bayan members present to place on top priority the reproductive health mothers and the health needs of the children in their area. With the projects of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) now being piloted in the municipalities of Llorente, Maydolong and Sulat, Evardone is hopeful maternal and child deaths rate of the province pegged at 22 and 12 respectively per 1,000 births will be reduced or better yet eliminated. Putting health in the LGU is the essence of devolution he quipped. As envisioned by President Gloria Macapagal ? Arroyo, the realization of the Medium Term Development Goals (MDG) rests upon the local legislators, the young governor further stressed.

In his presentation, Mr. Renato Llorin, Program Manager of one UNFPA project, mentioned that the Arroyo Administration (2204-2010) aims to reduce population growth rate from 2.36% to 1.9%. This is not however absolutely compelling couples to adapt the modern family planning methods as misinterpreted by some sectors, but rather couples are made aware on the four pillars of population management: 1) Responsible Parenthood 2) Respect for Life 3) Birth Spacing 4) Informed Choice. Thus, it follows that couples are free to choose an option whatever is comfortable to them, the officer said.

However, Llorin added, that a study revealed that, some couples tend to produce more children than what they plan to raised which they attribute to either lack of adequate information or the lack of health services in Rural Health Units. This problem will only be addressed by the local policy makers of the province and municipalities Llorin opined because they are actually the most knowledgeable persons who can muster local development strategies.

The UNFPA team was in town recently to advocate with the local policy-makers for policy solutions and support as they play a critical role in population management. If the current growth rate of2.36% is not addressed, experts estimate that by 2020 an increase of 37.1M is likely to happen, Llorin disclosed. This would mean, bigger population, bigger problems in health, education, employment and environment, Llorin concluded.

Nonetheless as for the ULAP Spokesperson, abortion is illegal, and in whichever form, or kind, he said, it is against the will of God. (PIA-Eastern Samar) [top]

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