By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQUIRER.net First Posted 11:40:00 10/30/2009
MANILA, Philippines – Voicing “serious” concern over inadequate reproductive health services and information, low rate of contraceptive use and difficulties in access to artificial methods that contribute to teen pregnancies and high maternal death, a United Nations panel urged the government to pass the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.
A report released this October containing the concluding observations on the Philippines of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that the government should “adopt as a matter or urgency the Reproductive Health bill awaiting approval by Congress and ensure that the bill reflect the rights of children and adolescents as enshrined in the Convention [Convention on the Rights of the Child].”
The recommendations came from the combined 3rd and 4th reports of the Philippines to the UN submitted early this year on its compliance to the Convention of the Rights of the Child, where the country is a signatory. A parallel report was submitted by the NGO Coalition made up of 15 organizations dealing with children’s concerns.
“The Committee remains seriously concerned at the inadequate reproductive health services and information, the low rates of contraceptive use [36 percent of women relied on modern family planning methods in 2006] and the difficulties in obtaining access to artificial methods of contraception, which contribute to the high rates of teenage pregnancies and maternal deaths,” the report said.
While it welcomes the passage of the Magna Carta of Women, the international body said that it remained concerned “over the lack of effective measures to promote the reproductive rights of women and girls and that particular beliefs and religious values are preventing their fulfillment.”
The RH bill remained pending for years in the House of Representatives partly due to the resistance of several Church groups. Two panels composed of congressmen were created in the chamber to debate on the bill in plenary when session resumes on November 9.
The bill pushes for, among others, the use of both artificial and natural means of family planning as a way to curb the ballooning population and to safeguard the health of mothers and children.
According to the UN report, the government has a lot to do to ensure access to reproductive health counseling and provide all adolescents with accurate and objective information and culturally sensitive services in order to prevent teenage pregnancies, including providing access to variety of contraceptives and improving knowledge and conscience on family planning.
It urged the government to strengthen formal and informal sex education for girls and boys with focus on the prevention of early pregnancies. It also called for the strengthening of HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns.
The committee said it remained concerned at the high infant and maternal mortality rates in the country even as it took note that the incidence has declined since 1990 (from 43 in 1990 to 23 per 1,000 live births in 2007-infant mortality rate and from 172 in 1997 to 162 per 100,000 live births in 2005-maternal mortality rates).
The UN said the government should “continue to take all necessary measures to lower infant, under-five and maternal mortality rates.”
Doctor Yvonette Serrano Duque, health specialist of the Children in Ministry of World Vision, one of the 15 members of the NGO Coalition, said the UN committee report should prod the government to act on the recommendations.
Serrano Duque said her group supported the RH bill and has programs advocating support for mothers from the pregnancy stage until the baby would be delivered.
“They always say that the children are the hope of the fatherland. This should be reason enough to give them attention, focus on providing them good nutrition to develop their full potential,” she said in a phone interview.
one more reason to support the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill 5043 – environmental woes blamed on huge philippine population
how many times have we heard philippine government officials say “we do not have the budget” to explain its inability to provide for the population, both basic, medium term to critical services? we must have heard that thousands of times over many years across all types of services and problems.
the country is poor. it has scant resources. that is not being helped by the fact that the country’s population growth has been on a high clip, too fast versus the amount of funds the country can generate to provide for services.
that is related to the point of this article. lets face it – you just can’t keep placing more and more people on the same piece of land and expect nothing bad or nothing wrong will happen. the land can take only so much. couple that with scant resources and this is what we get.
read more on RH Bill 5043 here:
Environmental woes blamed on RP’s huge population
By Michelle Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 06:33:00 10/24/2009
MANILA, Philippines — An economist from the University of the Philippines has tagged the country’s robustly growing population as one of the factors that worsen environment-related problems.
Ernesto Pernia, former chief economist for the Philippines at the Asian Development Bank, said the environment problems that recently led to hundreds of casualties would not have been as worse had the country’s population been contained.
“Nobody has mentioned the population issue as one of the factors contributing to the country’s environmental problems. The capacity of the country’s ecology is already stretched to the limit,” Pernia told the Inquirer in an interview.
He said the country’s huge population, estimated at around 92 million, was one reason for overcrowding in the urban areas. In turn, overcrowding had lead to difficulty in managing wastes.
“The consequence of unabated migration to urban areas is haphazard human settlement. Too many people are staying in areas that should not be a place for settlement, like riverbanks, bridge waterways, and esteros (urban waterways)” Pernia said.
Climate change, caused by carbon emissions mostly from industrialized nations, was considered a major culprit for the heavy rains that led to hundreds of deaths in Metro Manila and northern provinces. However, Pernia said, factors that were within the Philippines’ control also worsened the impact of the heavy rains and the massive flooding they caused.
Pernia said population growth, together with weak urban planning, degradation of forests, poor disaster-preparedness and weather forecasting systems, made the environmental problem worse.
The country’s population growth rate is currently estimated at 2.1 percent, faster than the latest economic growth recorded at 1.5 percent in the first half of the year.
Pernia said that with the country’s population already nearing 100 million, a zero population growth rate would be ideal.
According to Pernia, the government has been trumpeting the country’s economic growth and its capacity to avoid recession but what should be of graver concern is the declining per capita income growth.
Per capita income is the total income of the economy, usually measured in terms of gross domestic product [GDP], divided by the country’s population. It basically measures the share of each individual to the country’s income.
The fact that population growth was already faster than the GDP growth meant that per capital growth had already been declining, Pernia said. This placed the Philippines worse off than countries who had fallen into recession, but whose population growth was slower than the decline in their GDPs.
On 3/4/2009, Senators filed a committe Report No. 286
Senate Bill No. 3122 recommeding its approval in substitution of Senate Bill No. 40, 43, 187, 622, 122 taking into consideration P.S. Res. No. 376
Senate Bill No. 3122 “The Reproductive Healthand Population and Development Act of 2009″
On 2007-07-24, House Of Representative Filed HB00017
Full TITLE: An act providing for a national policy on reproductive health, responsible parenthood and population development, and for other purposes.
Bill status: Substituted by HB05043
Thank you suntoksabwan for sharing!
Mother Bill States: Unfinished Business (Period of Interpellation)
Resources: Senate Legislative Information (
) and Congress Legislative Information (
read more about RH 5043 here:
Greetings of peace.
Please find attached the position paper entitled “Catholics Can Support the RH Bill in Good Conscience” by 14 individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), on the Reproductive Health Bill (HB 5043).
The authors of this paper come from six different departments of the ADMU: Economics, Interdisiplinary Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology-Anthropology, and Theology.
We would like to stress that the views of the 14 faculty, as expressed in the position paper, are solely theirs and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective departments nor other Ateneo faculty. Neither do they represent the official position of the Ateneo de Manila University nor the Society of Jesus.
A brief summary of the entire position paper, as well as the stand of the authors on the RH Bill, can be found in the final section of the main paper, entitled “A Call of Conscience: Catholics in Support of the RH Bill.”
We hope, however, that you will be able to read the entire paper, as it provides research-based empirical evidence, upon which we built our position on this issue.
Thank you very much, and we hope that you can help us disseminate to the public our paper’s findings and our stand on the RH Bill.
Marita Castro Guevara (Department of Interdisciplinary Studies)
Raymond B. Aguas (Department of Theology)
Liane Peña Alampay (Department of Psychology)
Fernando T. Aldaba (Department of Economics)
Remmon E. Barbaza (Department of Philosophy)
Manuel B. Dy, Jr. (Department of Philosophy)
Elizabeth Uy Eviota (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Roberto O. Guevara (Department of Theology)
Anne Marie A. Karaos (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Michael J. Liberatore (Department of Theology)
Liza L. Lim (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Cristina Jayme Montiel (Department of Psychology)
Mary Racelis (Department of Sociology-Anthropology)
Agustin Martin G. Rodriguez (Department of Philosophy)
15 October 2008
Get full text of paper: