Arroyo really pro-artificial birth control, says group

By Desiree Caluza, Tonette Orejas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:27:00 08/16/2008

BAGUIO CITY – Health officials and population experts here said President Macapagal-Arroyo is supporting artificial family planning methods although she is more vocal about the natural family planning method.

Aurora Quiray, Cordillera director of the Commission on Population, said Ms Arroyo has ordered the Department of Health, the commission and local governments to educate families on choices of family planning methods because the government considers population as a development issue.

Quiray said the government’s family planning program wants couples to have a choice in controlling their family.

“The government wants to balance artificial and natural family planning method and how they will be carried in the advocacy. In her State of the Nation Address, the President asserted the natural family planning method, but there is a mandate from her for DOH and Popcom on how the local government units will take charge of artificial family planning methods and contraceptives. The natural family planning method is a supplementation,” she said in a press forum here on Wednesday.

She said they held a region-wide consultation with Cordillera leaders on how to strengthen the program on population and development.

She said the consultation clarified the controversial reproductive health bills pending in Congress.

Quiray said it was also in the consultation that the support for artificial family planning method by the government was discussed.

In Pampanga, couples in Central Luzon appeared to favor more the use of modern than natural forms of family planning.

There has been a decline in the use of oral contraceptive pills from 50.56 percent in 2006 to 46.96 percent in 2007 but pills continued to be the first method of choice, according to data from the DOH’s field health service information system in seven provinces and 12 cities in Central Luzon.

The second most popular method – injectable contraceptive, which is done once every three months – also saw a declining number of users from 19.21 percent in 2006 to 16.62 percent in 2007.

More men went for vasectomy, which sharply rose from 0.05 percent in 2006 to 13 percent last year.

An increasing number of women, from 11.77 percent to 15.03 percent, resorted to tubal ligation.

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