HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City, Metro Manila
FIRST REGULAR SESSION
HOUSE BILL NO. 17
Introduced by HONORABLE EDCEL C. LAGMAN
The present population of the country of 88.7 million has galloped from 60.7 million 17 years ago. This makes the Philippines the 12th most populous nation in the world today.The Filipino women’s fertility rate of 3.05% is at the upper bracket of 206 countries. With four babies born every minute, the population is expected to balloon to an alarming 160 million in 2038.
It is worth noting, however, that available studies, data and statistics show that the Filipinos are responsive to having smaller-sized families through free choice of family planning methods:
a. The desired fertility rate of Filipino women is 2.5 children per woman. However, the actual total fertility rate is 3.5 or a difference of one child because of the lack of information and absence of access to family planning. The current unmet need for contraceptives for example is 23.15% for poor women and 13.6% for women who are not poor (2003 National Demographic and Health Survey)
b. 61% of currently married women do not want additional children (2003 National Demographic and Health Survey)
c. 50.6% of the youth want to have only two children (2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey)
d. 97% of all Filipinos believe it is important to have the ability to control one’s fertility or to plan one’s family. It is significant to note that 87% of the total respondents are Roman Catholic (February 2004 Pulse Asia Survey)
e. Nearly nine in ten Filipinos or 86% say that candidates for elective positions who advocate a program for women’s health should be supported while only 2% say they should be rejected and 12% are undecided on the matter;
f. 82% say that candidates in favor of couples’ free choice of family planning methods should be supported while only 3% think otherwise and 15% are undecided;
g. 82% of Filipinos consider candidates supporting a law or measure on population issues worthy of their voltes while only 3% say such candidates should not be backed at the polls and 15% are undecided;
h. 83% of Filipinos say they are in favor of candidates who support the allocation of goverment funds for family planning while only 2% say they are not and 15% are undecided; and
i. A mere 8% of Filipinos believe that a candidate’s championing of family planning issues will spell that candidate’s defeat at the polls.
j. In July 1991, the Social Weather Stations conducted a survey that revealed that 97% of Filipinos want to have the ability to control their fertility and plan their families.
Notwithstanding these findings that favor smaller-sized families, this bill is not a population control measure with the sole objective of limiting population growth. It provides for population development that aims to:
(a) help couples/parents achieve their desired fertility size in the context of responsible parenthood;
(b) improve reproductive health of individuals and contribute to decreased maternal mortality rate, infant mortality and early child mortality;
(c) reduce incidence of teenage pregnancy and other reproductive health problems; and
(d) contribute to policies that will assist government to achieve a favorable balance between population and distribution, economic activities and the environment.
This measure is not coercive. It gives couples the freedom to decide whether or not to plan their families or space or limit their children. Those who decide to plan their families also have the freedom to choose what method of contraception is best suited for them. The so called “two child policy” is voluntary, not compulsory; suggestive, not coercive; and absolutely not punitive. It is not even a policy. It is a suggested ideal or norm.
Accordingly, this bill seeks to provide the enabling environment for couples and...