Duterte to launch family planning measures in the Philippines

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Philippines family planningPhilippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte revealed plans for his population management programme to curb population growth in the country of more than 100 million people, where 80 per cent are Catholic but more than 26 per cent live in poverty.

Acknowledging that the three factors – population growth, religiously influenced family laws and poverty – are connected, Duterte against the criticism from bishops said that he plans to stop payouts from a popular conditional cash transfer programme to poor couples who are rewarded for having more than three children.

He also said that his government will also implement comprehensive direct contraceptive programmes, running in direct opposition to the Catholic Church, which favours only natural family planning methods.

The initiative aims at reducing social spending on unsustainable family support programmes that lead to overpopulation and result in high unemployment, social problems and even more poverty. The Duterte administration estimates that family planning, in combination with other measures such as job creation through state-backed infrastructure and construction programmes and incentives for private corporations, could help reduce the poverty rate to 22 per cent by 2022, from 26.3 per cent at present.

Opposition from the Catholic church, which has successfully squashed similar population control attempts by Duterte’s predecessors, would ignore the obvious correlation of the number of children a family has and the level of poverty it is exposed to, the Duterte administration claims.

At an average of 3.1 children per woman, the Philippines has the highest fertility rate in Southeast Asia, and is among the countries with the highest fertility rates in the world. Interestingly, the least wealthy Filipinos have the most children with the average fertility rate being 5.2 among the poorest, but just 1.7 in the wealthiest households.

In a country with a non-existing social security net where abortion (and even divorce) is outlawed, mainly rural families still hold to the belief that more children mean a better old-age provision, but this system seems to have crossed the tipping point owing to the high youth unemployment rate particularly in rural areas.

Official data from the Philippines Statistics Authority shows that poverty prevalence of families with just one child is less than 4.3 per cent, but it reaches 52.3 per cent for those with nine children or more which clearly indicates a case for population management measures.

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Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte revealed plans for his population management programme to curb population growth in the country of more than 100 million people, where 80 per cent are Catholic but more than 26 per cent live in poverty. Acknowledging that the three factors - population growth, religiously influenced family laws and poverty - are connected, Duterte against the criticism from bishops said that he plans to stop payouts from a popular conditional cash transfer programme to poor couples who are rewarded for having more than three children. He also said that his government will also implement comprehensive direct contraceptive...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Philippines family planningPhilippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte revealed plans for his population management programme to curb population growth in the country of more than 100 million people, where 80 per cent are Catholic but more than 26 per cent live in poverty.

Acknowledging that the three factors – population growth, religiously influenced family laws and poverty – are connected, Duterte against the criticism from bishops said that he plans to stop payouts from a popular conditional cash transfer programme to poor couples who are rewarded for having more than three children.

He also said that his government will also implement comprehensive direct contraceptive programmes, running in direct opposition to the Catholic Church, which favours only natural family planning methods.

The initiative aims at reducing social spending on unsustainable family support programmes that lead to overpopulation and result in high unemployment, social problems and even more poverty. The Duterte administration estimates that family planning, in combination with other measures such as job creation through state-backed infrastructure and construction programmes and incentives for private corporations, could help reduce the poverty rate to 22 per cent by 2022, from 26.3 per cent at present.

Opposition from the Catholic church, which has successfully squashed similar population control attempts by Duterte’s predecessors, would ignore the obvious correlation of the number of children a family has and the level of poverty it is exposed to, the Duterte administration claims.

At an average of 3.1 children per woman, the Philippines has the highest fertility rate in Southeast Asia, and is among the countries with the highest fertility rates in the world. Interestingly, the least wealthy Filipinos have the most children with the average fertility rate being 5.2 among the poorest, but just 1.7 in the wealthiest households.

In a country with a non-existing social security net where abortion (and even divorce) is outlawed, mainly rural families still hold to the belief that more children mean a better old-age provision, but this system seems to have crossed the tipping point owing to the high youth unemployment rate particularly in rural areas.

Official data from the Philippines Statistics Authority shows that poverty prevalence of families with just one child is less than 4.3 per cent, but it reaches 52.3 per cent for those with nine children or more which clearly indicates a case for population management measures.

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