Joint Press Release | September 23, 2021

Calling for a better family planning method and an accessible contraceptive distribution nationwide, the Department of Health (DOH), in collaboration with the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) and Bayer Philippines, Inc., today led the observance of the World Contraception Day 2021.

The said agencies are pushing to increase awareness on the country’s reproductive health situation that can be achieved through better investments and intensified support for women’s health, family planning programs, as well as increased awareness of the provisions of Republic Act 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law. This will be possible through partnerships with allied government agencies and local government units, the private sector, civil society organizations, academe, the media, and other relevant advocates.

During World Population Day 2021 in July, POPCOM reported that despite the modest addition to the 8 million Filipino women and men who have availed of modern family planning services in 2020, it is likely that the pandemic has “severely impaired” their access to reproductive health and family planning services, which are particularly challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. This could lead to a possible rise in the numbers of unplanned pregnancies particularly among adolescents, maternal mortalities, and cases of gender-based violence.

“Worldwide, the COVID-19 outbreak has significantly impaired access to, and awareness of, the far-reaching benefits of contraception. It’s essential that we continue to support self-determined family planning and make contraceptives more accessible to a greater number of Filipinos---especially during this pandemic---when our established plans for our families, in particular, families led by mothers who are minors or teenagers and programs for our countrymen can be easily compromised by this health emergency,” said POPCOM Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III, MD, MPH.

"While the pandemic has limited usual modes of access, we remain committed to providing unbiased, accurate and trusted information about contraceptive methods. In 2019, we launched the Ask Mara automated chat via Facebook where you can know more about pregnancy, the pill and other contraceptive methods," said Angel-Michael Evangelista, Managing Director and Country Division Head, Pharmaceuticals, Bayer Philippines, Inc. "In the long run, educating and enabling women, especially adolescents, to make more informed choices on contraception helps improve their quality of life and economic capability. And together with our partners, I’m sure we can contribute to enhancing young women's knowledge about the different contraceptive choices and importance of family planning."

“Despite the limitations of our current situation, we, at the Department of Health, are cognizant of the need for safe and accurate avenues where Filipino men and women, especially our adolescents have the access to resources and support for family planning and contraception, be it online or offline,” said Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire of the Department of Health.

World Contraception Day 2021 underlines the importance of continued partnership among the government and non-government agencies and generating awareness on family planning. On its 15th anniversary, the celebration focuses on empowering Filipinos especially the youth to make informed decisions in their reproductive health, with the hope of enabling them to enjoy a healthy and productive life.