In the context of the devolution plan, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) renewed its call to the stakeholders, particularly the local government units (LGUs), to continue and strengthen the provision of family planning (FP) as one of the essential health services in the localities.

The National Family Planning (FP) month, observed annually every August, creates awareness on the importance and benefits of FP in promoting the overall health and well-being of the population. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Bata, Bata, Planado kang Ginawa!” with the subtheme, “Usap Tayo sa Family Planning dahil ang Pamilyang Planado, Protektado!” It envisions all Filipinos of reproductive age, specifically those who are 18-25 years old, would be aware of their reproductive health and would be able to plan their family size and practice healthy sexual behaviors.

Based on the 2022 State of the World Population Report, almost half of all pregnancies are unintended every year. Moreover, an estimated 257 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe, modern methods of contraception. Also, reports from the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) revealed that in the Philippines, 16% of the births were mistimed (wanted at a later time) while 11% were not wanted at all.

POPCOM, as the mandated agency to promote zero unmet need and responsible reproductive and sexual health, together with local government units, the Department of Health (DOH) and other stakeholders, implements and strengthens various demand generation activities to combat these unintended pregnancies. In effect, these resulted into an increase of family planning users in the country from 7.3 million in 2020 to 7.6 million in 2021 based on the reports from the DOH Field Health Service Information System (FHSIS). This accounts to an increase of 3 percent or 236,153 users. In Region I, the total current users increased by 2 percent from 467,431 in 2020 to 477,257 in 2021, a reflection of an increase of users from all of the region’s provinces.

POPCOM Region I, in partnership with the local government units and partner agencies, will be conducting series of family planning activities (responsible parenthood and family planning orientations and service provisions) and advocacy campaigns regionwide for this year’s celebration. With these activities, POPCOM hopes that policy makers, community leaders, and all individuals will be more aware of the benefits of FP and be more empowered to make affirmative decisions about their overall well-being.