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PIA Press Release
2006/11/24

PGMA redirects population program thrusts

by Rutchie Saluta

Butuan City (November 24) -- The country is shifting its focus in managing population and development issues after long years since its inception of being a contraceptive-supported services and information.

In her presidential directive issued on October 10, 2006, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed frontline government agencies to vigorously promote Responsible Parenthood (RP) & Natural Family Planning (NFP) programs.

The President wanted that the national population program shall zero-in the promotion of NFP, three years birth spacing, and breastfeeding, which are essential for the health of the mother, child, family and community in general.

Population Commission and Department of Health are mandated to take full charge of the program implementation including advocacy on the scientific natural family planning technologies. On the other hand, local government units can still promote artificial family planning because of local autonomy.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque reiterated to the heads of both POPCOM and DOH the President's policy, which should be the basis of all undertakings in the future.

A plan has already been crafted by POPCOM and DOH to carry out the President's directive. One strategy that will be in place is the establishment of the Regional NFP Resource Center so that appropriate information will be readily available to everyone.

Since RP-NFP program requires intensive campaign down to the grassroots level, the national government ensures that barangay health/population workers will be actively involved in the program implementation.

POPCOM also came up with three options in accelerating the prevalence rate of NFP methods until 2010. Meeting these scenarios however require strong commitment from partner agencies especially LGUs.

POPCOM-Caraga Director Camilo Pangan said an initial assessment of the NFP program was conducted late last year. "With the current thrusts of the government, we are hoping that succeeding results of NFP program assessment would be much favorable than before", Pangan said.

The RDC Development Administration Chair emphasized that the Commission will continue its campaign against teenage sex as ordered by Malacanang. "Studies showed that a growing number of teenagers or adolescence have been practicing premarital sex without understanding its consequences, hence, we need to intensify our efforts to deliver appropriate information to this sector so that they will be more responsible on their sexual behavior," he ended. (POPCOM-Caraga/PIA-13) [top]

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