This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Reproductive Health Breakthrough in The Philippines

Thanks to Population Matters for linking to a news story out of Manila that President Rodrigo Duterte of The Philippines is on board for the UNFPA and other NGOs to help provide birth control to couples in that country.
Buoyed by the support of the United Nations (UN), the government is determined to forge a “stronger collaboration” with the private sector on intensifying public access to family planning services.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the government appreciates the UN recognition of President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 12 on the full implementation of the reproductive health program.
The President earlier issued EO 12 (Attaining and Sustaining Zero Unmet Need for Modern Family Planning Services through the Strict Implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, Providing Funds Therefore and for Other Purposes) that will enable couples to make an informed choice on how to plan their families. The order aims to attain the “zero unmet need for modern family planning” for all poor households by 2018. Apart from the overall goal to help reduce poverty, it aims to lower maternal mortality rate and teenage pregnancy.
There are several reasons why this is important. In the first place, The Philippines is currently the 12th most populous country in the world (just after Mexico) with 102 million people, but by 2050 the UN demographers project that it will have overtaken Mexico and moved up to #10 on the list, increasing in size to 157 million, even taking into account the sizable emigration to other places, including the U.S. (only Mexico and China sent more legal immigrants to the US in 2015 than did The Philippines). This is largely due to the fact that women in that country continue to have nearly 3 children each, and low infant and child mortality means that almost all will survive to adulthood. The country cannot realistically sustain that kind of population growth, so helping couples have smaller families will be huge for the future.

This news is also good because it is among the few "good" stories that have surfaced since President Duterte was elected. His disregard for the rule of law in combatting drug dealers and his apparent pivot away from good relations with the U.S. have caused considerable concern in the U.S., so any positive news regarding Dutere is clearly welcomed.  

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