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PMC Articles Tagged 'Philippines'

Contraception, a life-saving investment for the Philippines

June 11th, 2009 by Chantelle Routhier | 1 Comment

Opposition to contraception is hurting the Philippines. Each year, more than half of the 3.4 million pregnancies in the country are unplanned, resulting in high costs to women, their families and the national health care system. In addition, this very high rate of unintended pregnancy is impeding the Philippine’s development goals.

Yet this is not an epidemic for which there is no known solution. Unintended pregnancies are highly preventable if women have access to voluntary family planning information and services, particularly modern methods of contraception.

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Contraceptives remain hard-to-come-by for impoverished Filipino women

June 11th, 2009 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Ask 46-year-old Erlinda Cristobal (real name concealed by request) how many children she has.
“Ten,” she said.

“But I was supposed to have only six,” she snapped in a breath.

After the sixth pregnancy, Cristobal decided that she and her husband, a casual laborer who earns an average of four dollars a day, should not have any more children.

“My husband doesn’t have a stable job. There are days when we don’t eat so that our children can,” she told Xinhua in an interview near her residence in Manila.

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Philippines debates government promotion of contraception

April 5th, 2009 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

A debate is stirring in the predominantly Roman Catholic country of the Philippines: should the government provide contraceptives to the public?

More than 100 members of the House of Representatives have co-authored a bill that would allow government funds to be used to promote artificial contraceptives — which is now prohibited in the Southeast Asian nation.

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PHILIPPINES: ‘Church Ban on Contraceptives Adding to Poverty’

September 28th, 2008 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

A growing and heated debate in this predominantly Catholic country revolves around the church’s uncompromising stance against the use of contraceptive devices that is said to be contributing to poverty and affecting the quality of life for many Filipinos.

A group of 15 bishops led some 12,000 protestors at a rally here on Jul. 25 against a proposed House of Representatives bill aimed at devising a national reproductive health policy.

Pulling the other way opinion pieces in the national press have been critical of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s pro-Catholic church stand on population issues. They urged her to make a bold anti-poverty statement in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) that was delivered on Monday.

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Too Many Babies?

September 28th, 2008 by Chantelle Routhier | 3 Comments

AMID panic over soaring rice prices and worries about whether the Philippines, the world’s biggest rice importer, can secure enough supplies, the results of the latest census have diverted blame towards a perennial culprit: overpopulation. The figures put the population at almost 89m when the census was taken last August, up from 77m in 2000. That means it has been growing at just over 2% annually since then. That rate is below the 2.3% annual growth of the 1990s and the 3% of the 1960s. But it is still faster than expected. Some analysts think the census undercounted, especially among poorer Filipinos. The population may now be up to 93m.

Every hour, then, the country has an extra 200 little mouths to feed. And increasing numbers of them are being born into grinding poverty. Other new government figures show that the number of people scraping by on less than $1 a day has risen by 16% since 2003, to 28m. More people mean more houses, which means less land to grow crops. The government this month imposed a temporary ban on building on farmland, as it revives its attempt to achieve self-sufficiency in rice.

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Debate Grows with Population

September 28th, 2008 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Debate grows with population; In the Philippines, critics say Catholic policy is to blame for condemning many to poverty. Clerics say poverty is the culprit.

Ask Josephine Gonzalez how many children a family should have and the stick-figured 31-year-old mother answers without hesitation. “I only wanted three,” she says, trying to soothe the naked baby boy who tugs at her ragged dress.

But Gonzalez is, in fact, a mother of six. Her sister Angie Maquiran, two years older, has seven children. Together with the fathers, the pair are raising their families in a public park across the street from one of Manila’s oldest Roman Catholic churches, sleeping on the ground, their possessions stuffed into a small cart that marks where home is.

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Birth Control Battle Weighs on Philippine Economy

September 27th, 2008 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Manila housewife Jasmin is well aware the bigger the family the bigger the potential poverty trap.

“I feel it most when we eat together because the food on the table is not enough,” said the 33-year-old mother of six who had her fallopian tubes tied to avoid getting pregnant. “So, I decided to have ligation because life is hard.”

Artificial birth control is often taboo in this staunchly Roman Catholic country. Yet with a birth rate that is one of the highest in the world, sustainable population growth is becoming a burning issue, especially as millions of poor people struggle to feed themselves at a time of high food prices.

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26 Philippine Economists Urge Gov’t to Back Population Bill

September 26th, 2008 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

ECONOMISTS OF THE UNIVERSITY of the Philippines, including three former socioeconomic planning secretaries, yesterday backed the reproductive health (RH) bill pending in Congress and said its critics were erroneous in claiming that it was proabortion and antilife.

In a five-page position paper read by Ernesto Pernia and signed by him and 26 others, the professors of the UP School of Economics said that after a studious reading, they found the measure to be propoor and authentically prolife and profamily.

We strongly support the RH bill and urge the national leadership to be fully and unequivocally behind it, they said, citing the measures main thrust of enabling couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information and means to carry out their decisions.

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Catholic Church Damns The Pill

September 24th, 2008 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

POPULATION-PHILIPPINES: Catholic Church Damns The Pill

As World Population Day was being marked on Jul. 11, Tess and Andy were attending a family planning seminar as a requirement for their forthcoming wedding. It turned out to be window into one of the major problems besetting the Philippine population programme.

Because their seminar was conducted by a doctor-volunteer in a Catholic church in Manila, Tess and Andy (surname suppressed) were expecting the facilitator to toe the church’s line against artificial contraception. But they did not anticipate the kind of information that was given them and several other couples.

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Family Planning in the Philippines: A Global Wake-Up Call for Policymakers

September 23rd, 2008 by Chantelle Routhier | 2 Comments

Thanks to Tod Preston, Vice President for U.S. Government Relations of Population Action International, for this article on the situation in the Philippines.

“Birthrates Help Keep Filipinos in Poverty” – that’s the headline of an April 21, 2008 Washington Post article highlighting the plight of a growing number of poor women in the Philippines who lack access to one of the most basic forms of health care: family planning (FP) and reproductive health services. The article, which mentions that the U.S. is scaling down its FP program in the Philippines, should be a wake-up call for policymakers about the global impact of declining FP assistance on the lives of hundreds of millions of men and women in the Philippines and other developing nations.

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