The population of the Philippines has been steadily growing for many years and easily hit more than 100 million even before the symbolic 100 millionth Filipino birth was reported on 27 July.
We are the 12th most populated country in the world according to registered births but there are many births which are unregistered, especially in the remote provinces. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see a Filipino seeking a birth certificate even as an adult, when required to present one.
The population growth rate has slowed slightly down to 1.89% from 2.34%. The next census scheduled for 2015 would probably reveal what? A further slowdown or uptick?
It probably depends on how the government implements the Reproductive Health Law, which was signed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in December 2012.
The RH law seeks to provide improved public access to natural and artificial family planning options, better maternal care, and youth education.
The Catholic Church has strongly opposed the law, which was first introduced in Congress 16 years ago, but the Supreme Court has affirmed its earlier ruling upholding the constitutionality of the RH Law, except for parts of Sections Seven, 17 and 23 and some provisions in its implementing rules.
Under the law, the government will promote programs that allow couples to have their desired number of children with due consideration to the health of babies and women. Resources will also be made available to parents in accordance with their personal and religious convictions.
It also aims to inform young people between the ages of 10 to 19-years-old about reproductive health issues and responsible teenage behavior, among other things
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) supports this pro-choice family planning policy, despite the strong resistance from Catholic Church officials.
We are absolutely behind the measure which allows government to provide modern contraceptives to couples who would prefer to limit their number of children and avoid unplanned pregnancies.
This is a fair and sensible approach to human development and population management.
We’ve seen how workers who planned their families have been able to achieve a superior quality of life compared to those who did not plan ahead.
Over the years, TUCP has been delivering family planning and reproductive health services at the workplace, with the financial aid of the Los Altos, California-based David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), among other donors.
We simply explain to workers the benefits of responsible parenthood, and all the options available to them should they wish to secure the family’s welfare by restricting their number of children.
The couples themselves enjoy absolute freedom of informed choice, and ultimately decide for themselves the family planning method they wish to embrace, based on their needs and their strong personal and religious beliefs.
TUCP is also pushing for the inclusion of a clause on family planning and reproductive health clinics and services at the workplace in every collective bargaining agreement between union and management.
Far too many working mothers and infants are dying every year as a result of unplanned pregnancies.
Unless government pushes for the use of condoms and other modern contraceptives, in the years ahead, the country would also lose a greater number of able-bodied male and female workers to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.
No Filipino family should be deprived of a life of health and equal opportunity, just because they have no immediate access to new family planning methods.
The RH Law should be fully implemented. Basically all modern governments have a policy to promote information on and access to both natural and modern family planning methods that are safe and legally permissible.