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Duterte, Cabinet approve national family planning program

President Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet have approved the implementation plan for the national program on family planning, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the program was approved after it was presented by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia and Commission on Population and Development Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez during the Cabinet meeting on Monday.

Panelo could not say when the plan will be implemented.

He added that the approval of the plan is expected to reduce poverty incidence in the country from the current 20 percent to 14 percent in 2022 when Duterte steps down from office.

Panelo said the “key strategy” was the use of effective modern contraceptives, which 11.3 million women would be given access to over the next four years.

The aim is to increase the rate of contraceptive use from 40 percent to 65 percent in order to prevent four million unintended pregnancies and two million cases of abortion over the period.

Aside from poverty reduction, the plan aims to promote better health and socioeconomic development among Filipinos, according to Panelo.

“We understand that a great majority of Filipinos favor family planning but not all of them have access to contraceptives due to various reasons,” Panelo said.

“Accordingly, the government is here to respond and help those who wish to undergo family planning.”

The approval of the plan came nearly three months after Duterte signed Executive Order 71 on December 13 last year, which puts back the CPD under the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

CPD is mandated to formulate and adopt coherent, integrated, and comprehensive long-term plans, programs, and recommendations on population and family planning as it relates to economic and social development.

The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, the country’s development blueprint crafted by NEDA, has identified the integration of population and development as one of the key strategies to accelerate the country's economic growth and improve the quality of Filipinos’ lives.

“NEDA will make sure that the country’s population is well-managed and programs related to it are in sync with our overall development plans,” said Pernia.

Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones and Undersecretary Luis Pangulayan cited the actions of the department to streamline the land use conversion process.

“After the issuance of an executive order, DAR will be able to process land conversion within 30 days compared to the previous 190 days. DAR was instructed to submit a complete staff work to the Office of the Executive Secretary,” Panelo said.

The President also approved the proposed construction of 31 evacuation centers in six provinces. — BM, GMA News