Inquirer Headlines: Nation

A World with Extreme Poverty is a World of Insecurity.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

9 out of 10 Pinoys favor birth control

The results of the Pulse Asia Survey re: Family Planning et. al. was published in three (3) major newspapers, the Manila Times, The Philippine Star and The Philippine Daily Inquirer. In the latter, which is the number one newspaper read in the country, having the largest circulation nationwide as well, said article was in the front page.

The article highlights the fact that about 89% of Filipinos want the government to pay for family planning measures including medication, intra-uterine devices, condoms, ligation and vasectomies.

"Almost all Filipinos surveyed (92 percent) described family planning as important, with 5 percent undecided and only 2 percent saying it was unimportant.

Family planning has been a touchy issue among candidates. Leaders of the Catholic Church, the religion of 81 percent of the population, condemn birth control. As of 2000, there were over 60 million Roman Catholics in the country. The country’s population is projected to hit 88.7 million this year, according to data from the National Statistics Office.

The Pulse Asia survey asked how important it was for a candidate in this year’s election to include family planning in his/her plan of action and found that 74 percent of respondents in Metro Manila said it was “important.” The rest of Luzon—some 83 percent—also said it was important, as did 72 percent in Mindanao and 71 percent in the Visayas.

Read the full article here.

In an earlier report as published in the Manila Standard, The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has urged all candidates (for this year's elections) to uphold women’s rights and protect them from all forms of discrimination.

Suneeta Mukherjee, UNFPA resident representative in the Philippines, announced that the agency would gather together senatorial, congressional and local candidates to a forum and hear them spell out their stand on issues about women.

Clara Rita Padilla, executive director of EnGenderRights, said the women’s rights activists wanted to hear the candidates expound their views on women’s rights. “We want to hear them [candidates] state their position on prevailing issues such as access to the full range of contraceptive methods including emergency contraception, access to safe and legal abortion, sexual education for adolescents, skills and education for women in prostitution, legalization of divorce, repeal of discriminatory Muslim Code provisions and lesbian rights.”

Based on the UNFPA report, there are an estimated 201 million women worldwide who wanted to postpone or delay childbearing, but do not have access to family planning. Closing the gap so that every woman at risk of unintended pregnancy has access to modern contraceptives would cost US$3.9 billion more per year.