In efforts to curb the dependency ratio – which is the number of working people and their dependents – the health and population agencies plan to introduce a new artificial method of family planning.
“Right now our population is 100.7 million or 100.8 million. But by mid-2015, it will be around 101.4 million. So the big efforts of the DOH and PopCom will be on the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) law this year and part of 2016,” PopCom executive director Juan Antonio Perez III told reporters yesterday.
Perez noted that the DOH and the PopCom aim to lower the total fertility rate of the count from three percent (which is the current ranking, translating to three offspring per childbearing woman), to 2.1 percent (which works out to two offspring per childbearing woman.)
“We are still the highest in Southeast Asia… (Our aim is that) each woman will have around two children. That is the replacement rate. And at that rate, the dependency ratio will improve in the next few years,” Perez pointed out; even as he cited that although there has been a decline in the country’s population growth rate, this is not happening fast enough.
The population chief said that the agencies will introduce subdermal implants – small, flexible plastic rods which release progestin into the body when inserted beneath the skin – as part of their family planning campaign.
Subdermal implants are meant to suppress ovulation for three years, and can easily be removed should the woman desire to conceive.
The contraceptives currently approved by the DOH and PopCom are injectables, pills and condoms.
The DOH and PopCom are also poised to step up their campaign for tubal ligation, vasectomy, and natural scientific family planning methods; namely, lactational amenorrhea, standard days method, and the Billings ovulation method.
To boost measures against teenage pregnancy, meanwhile, the agencies will team up with the Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to conduct programs on comprehensive sex education among young people.