“We are glad and proud to say that this is the first RPFP outreach among the cities in the region as a result of our partnership with the Commission on Population and Development-I (POPCOM I)”, says Mr. Danilo G. Corpuz, Urdaneta City Chief Probation and Parole Officer.

On May 5, 2022, POPCOM I, in collaboration with the Urdaneta City Parole and Probation Office, Urdaneta City Health Office and the Department of Health Center for Health Development conducted Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning (RPFP) community outreach service to seventy (70) probationers and parolees.

The activity aimed to provide information on family planning, its benefits and the different methods; and to bring the services closer to the identified beneficiaries who have expressed their needs on reproductive health services.

Mr. Cyrus Jed Ramos, Senior Health Program Officer of the DOH CHD-I provided an overview of the family planning program. After which, the City Health Office represented by Ms. Theresa Chiong, Nurse, briefly discussed Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). Succeeding the orientations were the provision of free services such as HIV screening and testing, reproductive tract assessment and management, PSI insertion and giving of FP commodities.

The Province of Pangasinan is the fastest growing province in the region with an average annual population growth rate (PGR) of 1.18 during the period 2010 to 2015 (POPCEN 2015, Philippine Statistics Authority). Urdaneta City is the third most populous city in the province with a population of 132, 940. However, it is good to note that the rates of contraceptive use in the region and in all of its provinces are higher compared to the national CPR which is 27.24. (Region I CPR: 35.91, Ilocos Norte: 32.69, Ilocos Sur: 37.22, La Union: 35.15 and Pangasinan: 38.19 / Source: 2020 FHSIS) This implies a good reception of couples and individuals on family planning and reproductive health services.

In view of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling, the local government units are given a unique opportunity to assume functions and services that are devolved to them through the national government agencies’ provision of capacity development interventions; enabling them in adopting the programs, plans and activities such as family planning and reproductive health (FPRH) and adolescent health. It is due to this cause that POPCOM I entered into a partnership with the Department of Justice- Parole and Probation Administration Regional Office on March 11, 2022 to localize the population and development programs in the agency and its provincial and city counterparts; and to establish and strengthen the collaborative arrangements in the delivery of FPRH services and information.

Ms. Joan E. Casildo, POPCOM’s Nurse, conducts the reproductive tract assessment and management to a female parolee.

Urdaneta City is the first city to actively respond to the objectives of the partnership and mobilized their clients to this RPFP outreach. Fourteen (14) availed of the free HIV screening and testing, seven (7) underwent reproductive tract assessment and management, and 1 availed of the Progestin-only Subdermal Implant (PSI).

POPCOM I Regional Director encouraged the participants to practice FP by emphasizing that, “it is important to plan our families. Let us help each other to plan for our families and ensure that the needs of all its members are well provided; that every child born will be raised in a truly humane way and that the couples and individuals achieve their aspirations.”

It can be recalled that in February, RPFP orientations in seven (7) municipalities of La Union were conducted, reaching 156 probationers and parolees. Also, an orientation on the Philippine Population and Development Program (PPDP) among the Provincial and City Parole and Probation Offices was also held in observance of the Women’s Month after the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOU).