Environment
October 30, 2019
PHE Networks discuss gaps in policies on population, health & environment

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) convened around 30 members of the Population, Health and Environment (PHE) Network and key stakeholders from the House of Representatives and the Senate to discuss the current state of the country’s population, health and environment. The event also included a workshop on developing the national policy agenda on population, health, environment, and way forward for the PHE network.

Livelihood
Policy
Infrastructure
Partnership
PHE Networks discuss gaps in policies on population, health & environment

Around 200,000 teens aged 15 to 19 and 2,000 children aged 10 to 14 get pregnant every year. This was reported recently by Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, MD, MPH during the policy agenda workshop on population, health and environment last October 21, 2019 at the Sequoia Hotel in Quezon City.

While the teenage pregnancy rate in the country has already declined from 10.1 percent in 2013 to 8.6 percent in 2017, Dr. Perez said that this number still remains a concern.

COMMISSION ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT (POPCOM) Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, MD, MPH discusses the importance of an integrated framework and synchronized solutions to the country's problems on population, health, and environment.
COMMISSION ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT (POPCOM) Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, MD, MPH discusses the importance of an integrated framework and synchronized solutions to the country’s problems on population, health, and environment.


“That is still a high number…And that has an impact on intergenerational poverty. You can imagine that there are 200,000 families being created every year led by children. That is the social impact of this problem,” he added.

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) convened around 30 members of the Population, Health and Environment (PHE) Network and key stakeholders from the House of Representatives and the Senate to discuss the current state of the country’s population, health and environment. The event also included a workshop on developing the national policy agenda on population, health, environment, and way forward for the PHE network.

An Integrated Approach

Key stakeholders from the health and environment sectors discussed gaps and challenges in implementing policies on population, health and environment during the workshop.

Perez discussed that one of the key components of the Philippine Population Management Program (PPMP) Directional Plan for 2017-2022 is the Adolescent Health and Development Program which aims to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among young people. Perez stated that it is important for all levels of the government to work together in preventing early and repeat pregnancies among teenagers.

Perez also emphasized the interrelationship of population, health, and environment factors such as overpopulation, health risks and natural disasters. Perez said the growing population has made cities more crowded and the environment more prone to disasters which also affects the accessibility and delivery of health and basic services.

“Efforts must be, in a way, integrated and looking at the root causes of these problems, and provide synchronized solutions,” said Perez.

Importance of Reproduction Health

Meanwhile, former DOH Secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral who is the National Implementation Team-Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law and Health Care Without Harm-Asia Chairperson,discussed the gains and challenges in implementing the RPRH Act of 2012. She also emphasized the importance of adolescent and reproductive health to population and development.

Cabral shared that the population growth rate is going down but the fertility rate of the Philippines is still higher compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. However, she added that the fertility rate is affected when women have access to family planning methods.

“The unmet need for family planning is decreasing across all wealth quintiles. More women are getting access to contraceptives but it’s still highest (unmet need) among the poorest women,” said Cabral.

Building Sustainable Cities

On the environment front, Climate Change Commission Policy and Research Development Senior Research Specialist Arnold Grant Belver also presented the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) 2011-2028 and discussed how it addresses population, health and environment concerns.

“The ultimate goal is to build the adaptive capacity of women and men in their communities, increase the resilience of vulnerable sectors and natural ecosystems to climate change, and optimize opportunities toward gender-responsive and rights-based sustainable development,” said Belver.

The NCCAP works in seven strategic priorities which include food security, water security, ecological and environmental sustainability, human security, climate-smart industries and services, sustainable energy, and knowledge capacity development.

Sectors Working Together

Stakeholders and partners from the public and private sectors also participated in the workshop’s policy discussion of related environmental issues including climate change, plastic wastes, disaster management and building resilience. Participants also discussed the five key result areas of the RPRH law on maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition, family planning, adolescent sexuality and reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, and eliminating violence against women and children.

PBSP Executive Director Reynaldo Antonio Laguda underscored the need for appropriate policies, plans, and programs in addressing the country’s problems on population, health and environment.

“We aim to develop and draft a policy agenda and guidelines which we hope can serve as inputs for PHE-focused policy-makers of the current administration in the 18th Congress,” said Laguda.

The PHE Network is a diverse and dynamic network of organizations and individuals advancing innovative approaches to population, health and environment. PBSP and the members of the PHE network continue to lead advocacy to support and contribute to PHE policy change at the national and local levels.

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