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Articles by Category for ‘Philippines’

Amid population explosion, birth control access roils the Philippines

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Amid population explosion, birth control access roils the Philippines 

See: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/reproductive-healthphilippines/

MARK LITKE: It’s 8 a.m. at the Jose Favella hospital in the Philippine capital, Manila. In the past 12 hours there have been about 40 births, a fairly average night for one of the world’s busiest maternity wards.

DR. SYLVIA DE LA PAZ: As you can see, there’s more patients than there are resources for them.

MARK LITKE: Dr. Silvia de la Paz, the chief obstetrician here, says they manage the crush as best they can. Often putting two beds together as a tandem bed for four mothers and four newborns.

And from these overcrowded hospital wards, out into the teeming slums of the city, it’s easy to see this country is in the midst of a population explosion, what some are calling a crisis. The Philippines today has one of the highest birth rates in Asia with a population that has more than doubled over the last three decades from 45 million to 100 million.

Once the mothers and their newborns leave the maternity hospital, many are going to return to places like, Tondo – this gritty neighborhood right on the edge of Manila. It’s a place where families struggle to get by on $1 or $2 a day at best. Here, very young children scavenge through garbage in search of something to sell for a few dollars to help support their families.

See: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/reproductive-healthphilippines/

Philippines Population Up to 100 Million

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Philippines Population Up to 100 Million

See: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Regional/2014/07/28/Population-up-to-100-million-Latest-birth-in-Philippines-highlights-challenge-of-providing-for-more/

MANILA: A baby girl born early yesterday has officially pushed the population of the Philippines to 100 million, highlighting the challenge of providing for more people in the already-impoverished nation.

The child, Jennalyn Sentino, was one of 100 babies born in state hospitals all over the archipelago who received the symbolic designation of “100,000,000th baby”.

“This is both an opportunity and a challenge … an opportunity we should take advantage of and a challenge we recognise,” Juan Antonio Perez, executive director of the official Commission on Population, said.

While a growing population means a larger workforce, it also means more dependants in a country where about 25% of people are living in poverty, he said.

He said the Philippines had to find a way to bring services to the poorest families while also lowering the average number of children that fertile women will bear in their lifetimes.

See: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Regional/2014/07/28/Population-up-to-100-million-Latest-birth-in-Philippines-highlights-challenge-of-providing-for-more/

Without RH law, contraceptives will run out in Payatas

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Without RH law, contraceptives will run out in Payatas

See: http://www.rappler.com/nation/53399-rh-law-contraceptives-women-payatas

MANILA, Philippines - “Pigilan yung pagdami ng anak. Yun ba yun? Baka mali ako.” (Stop the increase of the number of children. Is that it? I may be wrong.)
Marife Zaragoza, 36, only hears about the Reproductive Health (RH) law from television. She doesn’t know it’s a law that took almost 14 years to pass. Nor does she know it’s a law that has been stalled in the Supreme Court since a year ago.
After this writer explained it to her briefly, she smiled and agreed with health advocates the RH law is needed. She’s tired of giving birth, she said, even if one more baby – her 5th child – is still on the way.
Her disposition on child birth today is a far cry from when she was 19. She was then living with her boyfriend, and very happy about being pregnant – so happy that even if she lost her first, unplanned baby to a miscarriage, it took only a month before she was pregnant again.
When they met, her boyfriend was a security guard. Today, 17 years after, he is still a security guard, only now he’s providing not only for Marife, but also for 3 daughters, a son, and the baby in her womb.
“Aminin ko hindi lahat maibigay [ko] sa kanila. Kaya nagdesisyon ako ngayon, nitong panghuli, gusto kong ma-ligate na,” Marife said. (I will admit I can’t give my children everything. That’s why I decided that after this last child, I want to be ligated already.)

Swift decision on RH law sought in Philippines

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Swift decision on RH law sought
See: http://www.freenewspos.com/news/article/d/319670/today/swift-decision-on-rh-law-sought

Manila, Philippines — Concerned about the country’s ballooning population, lawmakers are asking the Supreme Court to finally decide on the fate of the Reproductive Health (RH) law.

Teddy Brawner Baguilat made the appeal after Commission on Population (PopCom) executive director Juan Antonio Perez III disclosed that the country’s population is set to reach more than 100 million in the third or fourth quarter of 2014.

“For me, before the end of the first half of 2014, the SC should put to finish to this case, so that the policy issue addressed by Congress through the RH law should be put into life, implemented and its desired results be felt by our country. Half a year is ample time to arrive at a very sound and legal decision,” said Tugna.

Baguilat said there is a need for the SC to swiftly decide on the law, which does not only address increasing population growth but also high incidence of HIV infections and maternal deaths.

He said if the SC was able to immediately decide on the legality of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF), it should also “decisively” act on the RH law implementation.

“No more delay. We sink or swim with the SC decision. Not just to curb runaway fertility, but also to combat maternal deaths, teenage pregnancies and HIV infections,” he said.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.freenewspos.com/news/article/d/319670/today/swift-decision-on-rh-law-sought

Experts: Man, nature share typhoon tragedy blame

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Experts: Man, nature share typhoon tragedy blame
- Nov. 11, 2013
See: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/experts-man-nature-share-typhoon-tragedy-blame

WASHINGTON (AP) – Nature and man together cooked up the disaster in the Philippines.

Geography, meteorology, poverty, shoddy construction, a booming population, and, to a much lesser degree, climate change combine to make the Philippines the nation most vulnerable to killer typhoons, according to several scientific studies.

And Typhoon Haiyan was one mighty storm.

Haiyan slammed the island nation with a storm surge two stories high and some of the highest winds ever measured in a tropical cyclone – 195 mph as clocked by U.S. satellites, or 147 mph based on local reports. An untold number of homes were blown away, and thousands of people are feared dead.

“You have a very intense event hitting a very susceptible part of the world. It’s that combination of nature and man,” said MIT tropical meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel. “If one of those ingredients were missing, you wouldn’t have a disaster.”

The 7,000 islands of the Philippines sit in the middle of the world’s most storm-prone region, which gets some of the biggest typhoons because of vast expanses of warm water that act as fuel and few pieces of land to slow storms down.

Half the storms on an informal list of the strongest ones to hit land in the 20th and 21st centuries ended up striking the Philippines, according to research by Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the Weather Underground.

Storms often hit after they’ve peaked in strength or before they get a chance to, but Haiyan struck when it was at its most powerful, based on U.S. satellite observations, Emanuel said.

Humans played a big role in this disaster, too – probably bigger than nature’s, meteorologists said. University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy figures that 75 to 80 percent of the devastation can be blamed on the human factor.

Meteorologists point to extreme poverty and huge growth in population – much of it in vulnerable coastal areas with poor construction, including storm shelters that didn’t hold up against Haiyan.

Click here to read the full AP story: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/experts-man-nature-share-typhoon-tragedy-blame

Opinion: Family planning pilot project in Philippines is a success story

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Opinion: Family planning pilot project in Philippines is a success story

See: http://www.nj.com/times-opinion/index.ssf/2013/02/opinion_family_planning_a_phil.html

The Philippines, roughly the size of Arizona, is home to 103 million people – compare that to the entire U.S. population of 313 million. The population of the Philippines is expected to double in size by 2080. Rice is the staple food, while fish provides most of the protein.

The Philippines has one of the highest birth rates in the world and the highest teen pregnancy rate in the Asian Pacific. To feed its people, the Philippines imports more rice than any other country on the planet and its oceans show severe signs of overfishing.

Something had to be done, which is why Philippine President Benigno Aquino late last year signed the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. To poor women in the Philippines, this means that government health centers will have to make reproductive health education, maternal health care and contraceptives available to everyone. It is a life-saving measure that will help end the cycle of poverty in this Southeast Asia island nation.

In the slums of its capital, Manila, it is not uncommon for women to have 12, 16 or even 22 pregnancies. However, many of the children die from treatable diseases, such as diarrhea. One woman, who had 22 pregnancies and has 17 surviving children, said, “Many times, we sleep without eating.” One of the reasons for enacting the reproductive health law is to help break the cycle of poverty and provide help to a woman and her 10 surviving children, for example, who comb toxic dump sites for a meager $7 a day to live on.

“The Philippines’ combination of high population growth and limited land area, nearly all of which is near the coast, makes the country extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Population growth, climate change and deforestation will only increase the severity of the disasters,” reports Hannah Marqusee in “Life on the Edge: Climate Change and Reproductive Health in the Philippines.”

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.nj.com/times-opinion/index.ssf/2013/02/opinion_family_planning_a_phil.html

Philippines president signs law easing access to contraceptives

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Philippines president signs law easing access to contraceptives

See: http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-philippines-law-contraceptives-20121229,0,6905291.story

By Kenneth R. Weiss and Sol VanziDecember 29, 2012, 1:18 p.m.

MANILA – Philippines President Benigno Aquino III has signed legislation that will provide modern contraceptives to the nation’s poorest people and mandate sex education in public schools, a spokeswoman announced Saturday.

Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines immediately vowed to challenge the new law in the nation’s Supreme Court and rally demonstrations in the streets, alluding to the bishops’ role in inspiring the “People Power” revolution in 1986 that helped topple former President Ferdinand Marcos.

“The fight is far from over,” said Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, a vice chairman of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, in a radio interview Saturday. “The church will continue to protect and defend life. The church will not stop.”

The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act was passed by the Philippines Congress this month after the bishops and their supporters had successfully blocked it for 14 years.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-philippines-law-contraceptives-20121229,0,6905291.story

Filipino House OKs RH Bill

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

House Okays RH Bill
See: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/385515/house-oks-rh-bill#.UMnbJqy5Wo8

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives made history last night with its approval of the controversial reproductive health bill that preceded two months of highly emotional debates and acted upon after 14 years of attempts by various proponents to pass the measure but foiled each time by the strong lobby of the Catholic Church.

Under the watchful eyes of at least a dozen top church leaders seated at the gallery, congressmen voted 113  for and 104 against, with 3 abstentions, to approve the measure on second reading.

Nominal voting was taken after congressmen opposed to House Bill 4244 moved for this procedure, insisting that the viva voce vote was determined to be unclear with the presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, complaining that the crowd in the gallery joined in the shouting of vote.

However, witnesses accused Tañada of bias toward approval of the bill as they noted that the gallery crowd was silent and merely keenly observed the proceedings.

At the gallery were Catholic Church Archbishops Ramon Arguelles of Lipa City; Bishop Teodoro Bacani; Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderic Pabillo; Bishop Jesse Mercado; Archbishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao; Bishop Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo City; and Msgr. Clemente Ignacio, rector of Quiapo Church. Also seen at the gallery were Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, among others.

Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, a staunch supporter of HB 4244, said the bill will be sent to another plenary vote next week, this time for third reading approval.

To read the full report, please click here: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/385515/house-oks-rh-bill#.UMnbJqy5Wo8

Catholics Herald Passage of Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Catholics Herald Passage of Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines

See: http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/news/pr/2012/CatholicsHeraldPassageofRHbill.asp  

The Philippines House of Representatives has voted to pass the Reproductive Health Bill (commonly known as the RH Bill), which will give millions of women access to contraception that was, in many cases, out of their reach. Despite widespread support for the move, and the fact that almost a third of Filipino women have an unmet need for contraception, the bill languished in Congress for almost 15 years.

Magdalena Lopez, Director of International Programs at Catholics for Choice, said, “Today is a victory for those in the Philippines who want to save lives and improve families’ well-being, an achievement that could not have come about without the pro-RH champions in Congress and the advocates who fought for it over a decade. I applaud the legislators who stood up to the bishops and for the will of the people, and the citizens-both Catholic and not Catholic-who refused to be intimidated by the hierarchy’s no-holds-barred campaign against the bill.”

The Catholic hierarchy has a lot to answer for in the delay.  Rina Jimenez-David, a journalist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, wrote in Conscience magazine in 2010 about a call from two bishops asking the president to “slow down” on the RH Bill-only one among many examples of the hierarchy’s aggressive lobbying. Whether it’s been a show of force in the House of Representatives or pointed sermons against reproductive health from the pulpit, the Catholic hierarchy has consistently pressured the faithful in the pews and in Congress to sink the RH legislation. But just as consistently, opinion polls have shown a majority of citizens and Catholics in the Philippines support the government making contraception more available.

Lopez continued, “Today is also a defeat-for the bishops and their myopic point of view, which tries to override individual conscience and the rights of the women who have no means to decide whether or when to have children, and whose health and lives may be at risk without contraception.

“While far from perfect, the Reproductive Health Bill addresses some of the health disparities-including maternal mortality- disproportionately affecting the poorest women, and may help check the rising HIV infection rate in a country where condoms are too expensive for many people.”

The Senate is due to vote on an RH measure as early as next week.

Manila Hospital, No Stranger to Stork, Awaits Reproductive Health Bill’s Fate

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Thanks to Kathy Schwarz for sending in this NY Times article, which serves as an update to the situation in the Philippines. Many of you are familiar with this epic political struggle, which pits a conservatism emanating largely from the infrastructures of the Catholic Church against more progressive interests, including President Benigno S. Aquino III, who has made the Reproductive Health Bill a priority of his two-year-old administration.

Manila Hospital, No Stranger to Stork, Awaits Reproductive Health Bill’s Fate

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/10/world/asia/10iht-manila10.html?emc=eta1 
MANILA – In the main ward at Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, 171 women and nearly as many newborns share fewer than 100 beds. Dozens more expectant mothers line the street outside, some sleeping on the sidewalk while waiting to get in.

The women, most of whom cannot afford to give birth at a private hospital, move through a type of controlled chaos from the street, to the labor room, to the delivery room, to the maternity ward and back out the door, usually in less than 48 hours.

“It’s a never-ending story, 24 hours a day, every day,” said Dr. Romeo Bituin, who added that the government-run maternity hospital was legally required to serve as a safety net for the poor. “We can’t reject patients. If we turn them away, where will they go?”

After years of discussion in the Philippine Congress, the House of Representatives finally decided in August to end debate on a reproductive health bill that would subsidize contraception and require sex education in the Philippines, a country with one of the highest birthrates in Asia. If it passes in the House, which returned to session on Monday, the bill will also need to be approved by the Senate.

The bill’s proponents, led by President Benigno S. Aquino III, who has made the issue a priority of his two-year-old administration, say the measure will give poor women a chance to have fewer children and rise out of poverty. Opponents, backed principally by the Roman Catholic Church, say the bill is out of step with the moral tenets of the overwhelmingly Catholic Philippines and argue that a high birthrate lessens poverty.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/10/world/asia/10iht-manila10.html?emc=eta1