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Friday, February 08, 2008

UN Population Fund monitors E. Samar Program

Manila Bulletin
Jack C. Gadaingan
07 February 2008

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar – An official of the United Nations Population Fund Assistance (UNPFA) personally visited this Pacific Coast province, three towns of which are recipient of its 6th Country Program.

Suneeta Mukherjee, UNPFA representative to the Philippines, was in town this week to meet with Gov. Ben Evardone and the mayors here and monitor how much progress they have made so far on the implementation of the program.

Mukherjee is also scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at the gathering of the Local Legislators League of Eastern Samar today where pressing issues on population, health, and environment development are to be discussed.

Currently, the towns of Sulat, Maydolong and Llorente are pilot areas of the UNPFA 6th Country Program Action Plan. This five-year program was started in year 2005 and is scheduled for completion in 2009.

Only 10 provinces nationwide are beneficiaries of this program. In the Visayas, only Bohol and Eastern Samar provinces are included. This year, the contraceptive reliance portion of the program, which is a counterparting scheme of contraceptive procurement between the beneficiary local government unit (LGU) and the UNPFA at 30 and 70 percent respectively, will be expanded to cover an additional nine towns in the province.

This expansion, which is expected to cover more than 100 towns in the country, will be implemented in partnership with the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP). This UNPFA-funded 6th Country Program Action Plan generally provides education to parents in the countryside on the utilization of the Natural Family Planning method as well the Modern Family Planning method. It allows parents to make an informed choice what method to adopt.

The program has three major components: reproductive health, population and development strategies, and gender and development.

Reproductive health covers five strategic areas: family planning, addressing violence against women and children, maternal and child health care, men’s involvement in reproductive health, and prevention and control of sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV.

The UNPFA recognizes the interconnectedness of slower population growth, poverty reduction, economic progress, environmental protection, women’s rights and sustainable development.

In the Philippines, as cited in a conference in Cairo, Egypt, socio-economic development would be impossible unless its rapid population growth is squarely addressed. Studies bared that four babies are born in the country every minute, 5,000 a day, or almost two million a year.