May 30, 2019

TOKYO—The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reiterated on Wednesday that the government is redoubling efforts in implementing the country’s population and family planning program, referred to as the National Program on Population and Family Planning (NPPFP).

According to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, a significant measure, among many others, was the issuance of Executive Order (EO) 71 last December 2018, which reverted the Commission on Population or POPCOM to NEDA from the Department of Health (DOH).

EO 71 also renames the POPCOM into the Commission on Population and Development (CPD), and raises the rank of its Executive Director from Director IV to the level of Undersecretary.

“It is important to note that the transfer and renaming of POPCOM make CPD staff not only health workers but also development workers. This dual role means that besides moving our family planning program faster and more widely, they have to ensure its alignment with the country’s development objectives as spelled out in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022. They have to be highly motivated, agile and alert,” said Secretary Pernia.

The EO further indicates the NPPFP to be co-managed by both the CPD and the DOH.

The full and intensified implementation of the NPPFP was approved by President Rodrigo R. Duterte last March 04, during the 35th Cabinet Meeting.

The NPPFP is a major component of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law. It aims to avert unplanned and unwanted pregnancies by enabling couples and individuals to attain their desired number of children within the context of responsible parenthood.

“Population and Development is among the President’s priority programs. To paraphrase a pertinent remark, he said development in our country can hardly be achieved without an effective family planning program,” noted Pernia.

The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 points out that harnessing the demographic window—a condition where the majority of the working-age population are young, healthy, educated, and has the right skill set to be highly productive—is key to reducing poverty and achieving inclusive growth in the medium- to long-term.

“Family planning interventions will contribute to improved welfare of Filipino families and poverty reduction, as they enable couples to plan and invest in their children better.We aim to reduce poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022 from 21.6 percent in 2015,” he added.

The President had earlier issued Executive Order 12 in January 2017 directing government agencies to implement the RPRH Law, particularly the NPPFP, to attain zero unmet need for family planning, and reduce unplanned pregnancies by enabling couples to have their desired number and spacing of children.