POPCOM-NCR opens helpline for family planning, gender-based violence concerns

POPCOM-NCR opens helpline for family planning, gender-based violence concerns
PRESS RELEASE: The public is advised to call or text its official helpline numbers 09617432337 (Smart) and 09272998764 (Globe) or through messenger via POPCOM-NCR facebook account

This is a press release from the Commission on Population and Development-NCR

The Commission on Population and Development in the National Capital Region (POPCOM-NCR) enjoins the members of the Regional Inter-Agency Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (RIAC-VAWC) in providing interventions and assistance to concerns and cases reported to POPCOM COVID19 Helpline.

The POPCOM COVID19 Helpline caters to issues and concerns related to Responsible Parenthood, Family Planning, Adolescent Health and Gender-Based Violence. The public is advised to call or text its official helpline numbers 09617432337 (Smart) and 09272998764 (Globe) or through messenger via POPCOM-NCR facebook account.

POPCOM-NCR Regional Director Lydio M. Espanol, Jr. said that operation of the helpline was brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic that caused most countries to implement home quarantine as a safety precautionary measure for the spread of infection among individuals, thus limiting the access and delivery of family planning (FP) information and services. Apart from this, the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) may also facilitate gender-based violence and longer exposure of adolescents to misinformation about their sexuality.

“Reproductive health services are fundamental human rights. Depriving people of these services equates to depriving them of their right to live particularly the poorest of the poor who have limited access to health services,” RD Español explained.

RD Espanol added that the ECQ being implemented nationwide made it difficult for women and couples to access family planning services from health centers which may lead to more unplanned pregnancies and higher unmet need for modern FP.

POPCOM continues to empower Filipino families and individuals who are all struggling to cope with anxieties brought about by fear of getting infected by the virus, economic stress due to no-work, no-pay schemes including very close quarters which is notable in Metro Manila where the average number of persons is 4 to 5 or housing units with a floor area of less than 20 square meters.

Due to strict community quarantine measures, women and children may be exposed to the risk of violence against women and children, which could either be verbal, physical, emotional, including financial abuses. These cases, if not attended to could put more lives at risk as ECQ limited everyone’s mobility thereby poses longer threat to women and children who are with their perpetrator at most times.

The young people are also not spared from the difficulties encountered during ECQ. Adolescents in the country also face many legal, social and political barriers to access sexual and reproductive health services which could put them at risk to engaging into risky sexual and non-sexual behaviours, resulting to unintended pregnancies, acquire STI and HIV and other health and development concerns. Also, with the on-going ECQ, adolescents have more time to explore the internet that exposes them to unfiltered information like pornography and violence.

With this Helpline, POPCOM aims to assist public health facilities and health service providers in ensuring that FP information is accessible and supplies/commodities will be provided to those in need, and to provide first line of support through provision of age-appropriate health information and referral to social protection services.  – Rappler.com

The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) is the country’s lead organization in population management for well-planned and empowered Filipino families and communities. Its goal is to attain a better quality of life for all Filipinos through management and maintenance of population level
resources and the environment.

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