With couples in long-term quarantine, the government is worried about unplanned pregnancies.
Family planning is important now more than ever, says Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, the head of the Commission on Population Development (POPCOM).
According to the POPCOM Executive Director, the current COVID-19 pandemic is feared to cause “poverty-worsening, economy-debilitating population boom,” which should make it an utmost concern to educate the people on the importance of family planning especially during this time of crisis.
“We saw in the past during the lifetime of our parents or grandparents the significant increase in birth rate after a major adverse event,” he said during a live Facebook session organized by Bayer Philippines. “This is the reason why family planning is even more important during our current COVID-19 crisis.”
In hopes to address the issue, POPCOM has taken the necessary measures to intensify its family planning programs and implement the distribution of contraceptives. It gives priority to underprivileged communities that are most likely to experience socio-economic deterioration caused by unplanned pregnancies, especially with the majority of Filipino households staying at home due to the government-imposed quarantine since March.
“Nearly one-third of a typical Filipino household budget is used up to cover the cost of pregnancy,” Dr. Perez pointed out. “It leads to many families having to do with less because they have more mouths to feed. This has an aggregate impact [on] the economy.”
Dr. Perez also stressed the importance of responsible parenthood. “Before thinking about raising a family, the couple must think through a lot of considerations. Based on their earning capacity and increasing cost of living, how many children can they provide for? How would they ensure the best for their children—physically, mentally, and spiritually?”
According to a survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority, three out of every 10 pregnancies in the country are unplanned.
The estimated Philippine population currently stands at 108.7 million, based on the Population Projections from the 2015 Census of Population.