October 24 - October 30, 2005

LC takes step to ensure family planning program continuity

Population Commission (PopCom) Officer Felicitas Santiago is confident that the gradual phase-out of contraceptive commodities by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will not paralyze the family planning program of the city.

USAID has been supplying condoms, pills, injectables and intra-uterine devices (IUDs) to the Philippines since 1972 with the start of the country’s family planning program.

Santiago said that with the eventual pullout of the foreign donor by 2008, the national government thru the Department of Health (DOH) is enforcing Administrative Order (AO) 158 or the Guidelines on the Management of Donated Commodities under the Contraceptive Self-Reliance Strategy.

The implementation of AO 158, she said, is dependent on the number of acceptors of pills and injectables. Ilocos Norte and Laoag City were identified as the first batch because of lower poverty incidence compared to other provinces in the Region like Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan, she added.

Condom supply was first faced-out in 2004.

By the third and fourth quarter of 2005 the city will be receiving only 30 percent of pills and 70 percent of injectables of the previous allocation, Santiago explained. Pill 0supply will be phased-out completely by the third and fourth quarter of 2006 and injectables by the first and second quarter of 2007, she said.

We will still be provided with the IUD, though, Santiago noted.

She said that an initial P100,000 have been allocated to cover the supply reduction. She however noted that this is not enough and that the city is looking into additional sources of funding such as the 20 percent equal sharing of barangay’s in the internal revenue allotment (IRA).

Total population in the city was recorded at 99,284 as of May 2005.

Of this number there are 9, 051 acceptors: 4,740 for pills; 1,108 for injectables; and 232 for IUD, Santiago reported. The use of these contraceptives, she added, cut across socio-economic boundaries.

“Note however that we are not only advocating the use of pills, injectables, and IUD, but also of natural family planning methods such as the standardized method or necklace, rhythm method, and the basal body temperature method (BBT),” Santiago said.

We have observed however that the artificial method is more acceptable to most couples, she said. They consider it to be more convenient and effective rather than natural family planning methods being promoted by the church, she added.

Santiago explained that although over population is not a problem in the city, the purpose of family planning is focused on proper spacing, timing and number of children to ensure the health of both mother and child.

If we do not solve this problem, there will be many implications. A drastic population increase will affect delivery of basic and social services, the PopCom officer stressed.

Aleli Aggasid-Batara, Contributor

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