Finally, we’ve got development on some key national issues: sexual health, population control, and poverty. After his executive order in January 2017 to provide access to modern family planning, President Rodrigo Duterte officially OKd the full and intensified rollout of the implementation plan for the National Program on Family Planning. Good—we’re really hoping to see promises turn into concrete movement and milestones.
The intensified program “equally aims to promote better health and socioeconomic development among Filipinos,” says Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. More specifically, it aims “to reduce poverty incidence in the country, which currently has the highest fertility rate and fastest growing population in the ASEAN region,” explains Panelo. The intent is to bring down the fertility rate from 20 percent to 14 percent by 2022.
And, just how is the National Family Planning Program intending to do such a feat? Well, it basically starts with access. “The key strategy is the use of effective modern contraceptives where 11.3 million women would be given access to over the next four years. The aim is to increase the usage thereof from 40 percent to 65 percent,” says Panelo.
Currently, not a lot of Filipinos have access to contraceptives for various reasons. Therefore, with a fully implemented program, we’re looking at fewer hindrances to access and more and more women celebrating their body autonymy and taking control of their sexual health.
So, what’s the national bottom line? By providing that elusive access to contraceptives, the government is intending to prevent four million unintended pregnancies and two million cases of abortion over the next four years. This target only proves that it’s all connected, girls—our bodies, our choices, our population, our country.
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