Amid the growing population and the issues associated with it in the Philippines, the Commission on Population (POPCOM), in partnership with international partner Bayer and non-profit organization The Forum for Family Planning and Development Inc., urged the government and the general public to be more aware of reproductive health and usage of contraceptives.
At the first-ever forum celebrating the World Contraception Day (WCD) in the country, it was revealed that the Philippines is amongst with the fastest population growth rate in Southeast Asia, with an estimated 1.5 million Filipinos being added to the population every year. The United Nations Population Division projected that the country's population will hit 117.6 million by 2025 and 125.3 million by 2030, the second highest on the region.
"There is a need to constantly review our policies on reproductive health: Is it addressing the needs of the public? Is it effective? Reproductive health is an important aspect of the government's thrust for inclusive economic growth. It is vital that every family will plan the number of children based on how many they can support to reach their full potential," said Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, Executive Director of POPCOM.
The forum tackled various concerns associated with unsustainable population growth as well as the challenges faced by government agencies, non-profit advocacy groups, and private companies in brining reproductive health options to the general public. The discussion also brought up that reproductive health is responsibility of both men and women in a Filipino family.
"Reproductive health and family planning are mutual responsibilities of the two partners. As the adage goes, it takes two to tango," said Benjamin de Leon, President of The Forum for Family Planning and Development Inc.
The country's first WCD celebration was also conducted with the support of the Philippine Society of Reproductive Medicine and students. Bayer, a global advocate for women's health, together with its partners, believe that this is a giant step forward for the country as it continues to realize its vision of a world where every pregnancy is wanted.
"It is important for us that we bring conversations on reproductive health and contraceptives to see the light of day - we want it normalized. Through the World Contraception Day campaign led by our coalition of international and local partners, we joined forces to create and enhance the awareness and underline the importance of empowering young people to learn about contraception and proactively talk about it with their healthcare providers and partners," Junil Kim, Bayer Pharmaceuticals country division head, added.
MAIN PHOTO 1: Presenting the token are (L-R) The Forum on Family Planning and Development President Benjamin de Leon, Bayer Pharmaceuticals Division Senior Vice President and Head of Commercial Operations Asia/Pacific Claus Zieler, Commission on Population Exec Dir. Juan Antonio A. Perez III, MD, MPH, Philippine Society of Reproductive Medicine PRO Dr. Angela Aguilar, and Bayer Philippines Pharmaceuticals Country Division Head Junil Kim.
MAIN PHOTO 2: (L-R) The Forum on Family Planning and Development President Benjamin de Leon, Commission on Population Exec Dir. Juan Antonio A. Perez III, MD, MPH, Philippine Society of Reproductive Medicine PRO Dr. Angela Aguilar, and Bayer Philippines Pharmaceuticals Country Division Head Junil Kim sign the Memorandum of Agreement forging a partnership to support the annual celebration of World Contraception Day every September 26.