Press Release
July 20, 2007

Pia dares 'macho' Pinoys to play bigger role in family planning

"Be real men and stand up to your responsibilities."

This was the challenge hurled to Filipino males by Senator Pia S. Cayetano, as she noted the great disparity in the roles taken up by men and women in family planning and reproductive health.

Cayetano said the results of the 2006 Family Planning Survey (FPS) released last month by the National Statistics Office (NSO) indicate that it is mostly the mothers who are taking up the cudgels in spacing births and planning the size of the family.

The survey showed that among married couples practicing modern family planning methods, the pill (16.6 percent), ligation (10.4 percent), IUD (4.1 percent) and injectables (2.8 percent) emerged as the top four preferred contraceptives.

"These methods are meant for women, meaning, it is they who have to take the medication or undergo the surgical operation and bear the side effects," she pointed out.

On the other hand, contraceptives for men, like the condom and vasectomy came in at the far end of the survey with only 1.6 percent and 0.1 percent of respondents saying it was their chosen method.

"The results of latest family planning survey indicate that much of the burden in family planning is still carried by women when it should be a shared responsibility between husband and wife," she said.

But the lady senator clarified that male responsibility is not limited to the type of contraceptive, "but extends to supporting his partner throughout her pregnancy until childbirth, in urging her to sustain breastfeeding, and in eventually rearing their children."

"Men who wield authority as fathers, husbands and community leaders can play a bigger role from family decisions to influencing government policies on reproductive health."

She lamented that "World Population Day" came and went largely unnoticed last July 11. Its theme this year is "Men as Partners in Maternal Health," which she said is an appropriate wake up call for the "macho" Filipino.

"Involving men in reproductive health will advance the general well-being of women and improve maternal survival rates in the country, which is now one of the worst in Southeast Asia."

She noted that the country's estimated maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is 200 per 100,000 live births while neighbors like Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand all have MMRs below 40.

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