Full implementation of RPRH Law pushed on World Population Day

The full and intensified implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law (RPRH Law) is necessary to ‘empower’ the Filipino population and help bring down poverty levels in the country.

This was emphasized by Senator Pia S. Cayetano on Thursday, World Population Day (July 11), a global observation meant to raise awareness on population issues and finding solutions related to population growth.    

The principal sponsor of the RPRH Law, Cayetano said previous delays in enforcing the landmark measure have hampered government efforts to maximize gains from economic development and effectively redistributing available resources to benefit the population. 

But she noted how the situation has changed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, which has placed the National Program on Population and Family Planning (NPPFP) as a major component of its poverty reduction strategy. 

First introduced through the RPRH Law, the NPPFP seeks to avert unwanted and unplanned pregnancies by giving Filipinos universal access to reproductive health and family planning information, devices, and services. The NPPFP also aims to empower couples and women to attain their ideal number of children through responsible parenthood.   

“From his very first State of the Nation Address, President Duterte has indicated strong political will to fully carry out the RPRH Law as part of his administration’s socio-economic reforms to address poverty,” Cayetano pointed out.

“The full and intensified implementation of the RPRH Law, in partnership with sound economic policies and effective management of our human resources would be the key drivers in attaining sustainable and inclusive growth in the second half of President Duterte’s term,” she added.  

Cayetano noted that the President has backed up his first SONA by directing all government agencies to implement the RPRH Law to attain zero unmet need for family planning, and by providing sufficient budget to attain NPPFP’s goals.

The Philippine population is expected to hit 109 million by the end of 2019, according to projections of the Commission of Population. The country currently has the highest fertility rate in Southeast Asia at 2.7 per woman, and has one of the region’s fastest-growing populations, with an annual average growth rate of 1.6 percent. 

On the other hand, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is targeting to increase modern contraceptive rate to 65 percent and lower fertility rate to 2.1 average children per woman by 2022. 

Under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, NEDA seeks to reap economic benefits from a young, healthy, well-educated and highly skilled working-age population, and ultimately reduce poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022 from 21.6 percent in 2015. #

File photo: In a forum, Senator Pia Cayetano recalls the struggle that advocates went through to pass the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act.

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