POPCOM Region-V enjoins LGUs to strengthen population programs through localization strategy

The Philippine Development Plan for 2017 to 2022 has highlighted population management strategies as one of the critical factors for the attainment of the country’s goal of inclusive development.  Interventions particularly family planning and reduction of adolescent pregnancies were underscored and recognized as means of reducing poverty level in the country. The Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law mandates the local government units (LGUs) to ensure the provision, at the appropriate level of care, of the full range of responsible parenthood and reproductive health care services, including all modern family planning methods, both natural and artificial, to all clients regardless of age, sex, gender, disability, marital status or background.

To help attain the abovementioned goals, the Commission on Population and Development Region-V (POPCOM Region-V) will work closely with the LGUs to ensure the institutionalization and sustainability of the population management program at the local level through a localization strategy. This collaborative strategy between LGUs and POPCOM is geared towards improvement of the policy and program environment at the local level to ensure universal access to responsible parenthood and family planning information and services especially among the marginalized sectors. 

Through the localization, LGUs that have no existing population structure are prompted to appoint/designate a full-time population officer and to assign him/her as the lead institutional coordinator and implementer of the strategies and activities for the National Program on Population and Family Planning (NPPFP) including the reduction of adolescent pregnancies in the LGU. The LGUs are also to provide/allocate funds in support to the implementation of the localization strategy and should be included in the Annual Investment Plan (AIP). POPCOM Region-V will also grant an amount to the LGU to complement available local funds and provide needed technical assistance.

This strategy will help prevent the actualization of the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) and the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) projection that the number of expected unintended pregnancies for the women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years old) will be at 2,560,000. One incidence it may help avert is the number of adolescent pregnancies which is projected to have a 21.04% increase and are expected to reach 102,000, a consequence brought about by the disruption of family planning services during the community quarantine.

Director Lourdes P. Nacionales is also hopeful that with the cooperation of the LGUs, the localization strategy will bring positive outcomes in the sexual and reproductive health status of the Bicol region.  “We are looking forward to the success of this collaboration with the local chief executives (LCEs). We hope that this will push forward a continuous increase in women who are using modern contraceptives (32.2 % in 2017 from 21.2 % in 2013-NDHS/PSA) and reduce the high unmet need for modern family planning in the region which is at 21.3%.” Dir. Nacionales remarked.

POPCOM Region-V will rollout the first steps for the localization strategy in February with a PPMP (Philippine Population Management Program)Planning and Target Setting Workshop with local chief executives and key LGU officials.