TACLOBAN CITY- “Population program is not only aimed at population control. It is focused mainly on population policies, plans and programs in the pursuit of socio-economic development reforms,” Commission on Population (POPCOM) Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III said.
During the Regional Population Executive Board (RPEB) meeting held recently at the Sal’s Restaurant in this city, POPCOM-related concerns were discussed, particularly the Executive Order (EO) 71, an Order Renaming the Popcom as Commission on Population and Development, and reverting its attachment from the Department of Health (DOH) to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
According to Perez, “Although there is a change in agency’s name, it does not mean that the programs will stop. The implementation of the population programs will continue.”
The Popcom chief also clarified and reiterated the provision of the said Executive Order.
“With the said order aimed to strengthen the development and implementation by the Popcom of population-related policies and programs, there is a need to enhance its coordination with NEDA, considering that NEDA is the authority primarily responsible in formulating continuing, coordinated and fully integrated social and economic policies, plans and programs,” he said.
Perez added that the renaming of the POPCOM is also one way to enlighten us with the view that population and development is based on rights and matters that relate not only to the health of women, but also their rights and the right to the development of countries.
To recall, Presidential Decree No. 79, otherwise known as the Revised Population Act of the Philippines created the Commission on Population under the Office of the President primarily aimed to formulate and adopt coherent, integrated and comprehensive long-term plans, programs and recommendations on population policies geared towards economic and social development.
PD 79 includes undertaking a national program for family planning involving both public and private sectors which respect religious beliefs and values of our citizens. However, the said agency was attached to the Department of Health (DOH) per Executive Order 188, series of 2003.
“President Duterte acknowledged the continuing importance of Presidential Decree 79, as its implementing policies relates to economic and social development. But since the policy is not just a health policy but likewise has a socio-economic implication, talking on the socio-economic agenda of the Philippine Development Plan,” he said adding that reverting its attachment to the NEDA finds it more appropriate.
EO 71, which was signed on December 13, 2018, is also one of the identified strategies under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 with the goal to increase the country’s potential economic growth. (LDL/GTTabao/PIA-8 Leyte)