MANILA, Philippines – A recent Pulse Asia survey revealed most Filipinos want candidates in an election to include family planning in their program of action.
The survey, conducted from February 15 to 20 among 1,800 registered voters, showed 8 out of 10 or 79% of Filipinos give high importance to an electoral candidate’s support for family planning.
Commissioned by the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), the survey also revealed 9 out of 10 (86%) Filipinos want the government to allocate funding for family planning services.
There is also high public preference for family planning, with 95% of the respondents saying it is important to have the ability to plan their families.
Meanwhile, 52% say it is important for young people aged 15 years and above to have access to family planning in government facilities.
The survey has a ±2% error margin for national percentages, and a ±6% error margin for Metro Manila, ±3% for Luzon, ±5% for Visayas, and ±5% for Mindanao.
Tinig ng bayan pakinggan, #RHpanindigan. pic.twitter.com/QUP1abLLyJ— PLCPD (@PLCPD1989) March 29, 2016
Challenge to candidates
Dr Junice Melgar, director of the health department’s Family Health Office, said it’s not surprising that a big majority of Filipinos actually desire family planning.
Commission on Population Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III also challenged national and local candidates running for office to take their cue from the Pulse Asia survey.
“National officials [should] make sure there is funding, and local officials [should make sure] that the services are actually provided. It must be a working relationship between the national and local,” Perez said during the launch of the survey on Tuesday, March 29.
Melgar agreed: “Kailangan natin ng mga government officials in Congress, especially at the national executive offices, [na] hindi matakot na mawawalan sila ng boto kapag sila ay nanindigan para sa family planning, kasi kapag nag-oppose ka sa family planning, ibig sabihin may pagka-timang ka na.“
(We need government officials in Congress, especially at the national executive offices, who will not be afraid about losing votes should they support family planning, because if you oppose family planning, it means you’re somewhat dense already.)
The survey comes months after the health department’s budget suffered a P1-billion cut meant for the purchase of family planning commodities for the poorest of the poor in the country. (READ: RH budget cut exposes problematic lawmaking in PH)
Reproductive health (RH) advocates then vowed to make the cut an election issue. (READ: RH budget cut: 3 unanswered questions)
Earlier this month, the Purple Ribbon for RH Movement – the largest network of RH and women’s rights advocates, which includes the PLCPD – endorsed Liberal Party vice presidential bet Leni Robredo, as well as senatorial bets Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Walden Bello.
Aside from the budget cut, advocates also lamented other challenges in the implementation of the RH law, including the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order on the distribution and sale of implants, and local ordinances that violate the law.
The Pulse Asia survey asked the respondents the following questions:
- In your view, how important or not important is it to have the ability to control fertility or plan the family, such as spacing in between births and limiting the number of children?
- In your opinion, how important or not important is it that the government allocates funds for modern methods of family planning, such as pills, IUD, ligation, condom, vasectomy?
- In your opinion, how important or not important is it that a candidate in an election includes modern methods of family planning in the program of action that he/she will pursue?
- How much do you agree or disagree with this statement?
- “Young people aged 15 years and above should have access to family planning services in government health facilities?”
A report by the United Nations Population Fund in February revealed adolescent fertility rates in the Asia-Pacific have declined in the last two decades “with the exception of the Philippines where there has been little change.”
The Philippines failed to meet its Millennium Development Goal to reduce maternal deaths, but it has committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, which include new targets on maternal and child mortality. (READ: Meeting RH-related SDG targets: ‘Work must start from Day 1’) – Rappler.com
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