SWS Survey Says…

The Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted a study on December 27-28, 2009 among 600 men and women of reproductive age in six Districts of Manila. The study entitled “SWS December 2008 Special Omnibus Survey on General Health in Manila (MLA 12-08)” sighted that the top 10 major problems in Manila are unemployment, illegal drugs, robbery/hold-ups, poverty, garbage disposal, corruption/public morality, high prices of things to buy, transportation/traffic, housing problems, and disasters, whereas 50% of the respondents considered their state of health as fair. But majority of Manila residents (95%) say that the City of Manila health centers should further improve its services. The survey also revealed that 88% agree that Manila should have a policy on reproductive health (RH) while 86% say that there should be a national law on RH.

According to Mr. Benjamin De Leon, President, The Forum for Family Planning and Development (The FORUM), Filipinos are the ones demanding information and services on reproductive health and family planning as the latest SWS survey result also showed that 74% Filipinos agreed that population increased poverty incidence.

"We do hope that with this latest survey result, our respective legislators in the House of Representatives won't have any qualms on passing the Reproductive Health bill which would benefit the majority of Filipinos especially couples. The survey is echoing the voice of the true constituency of Congress." De Leon stressed.

The majority of the respondents agreed that there should be a law that requires government to distribute legal contraceptives like condoms, IUDs, and pills to people who want to avail as well as providing free supplies or services to the poor who wish to use any modern method because they do believe that limiting the number of children or spacing of birth by 3 or more years is good for the health of both mother and children.

Moreover, the Department of Education (DepEd) is being urged to push through with the RH module as the latest survey says that 92% agreed that students with ages 15-24 should be given adolescent health education. The revised modules which include teaching notes on pre-marital sex, commercial sex, abortion and homosexuality, and high-risk sexual practices are geared to inform the youth on the long-term health and social consequences of sexual risk-taking. However, the new textbooks emphasize sexual abstinence among adolescents, and ask teachers to lead discussions on the advantages of delaying sexual activities during adolescence.

Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte takes a more progressive stand with regards to family planning and reproductive health. It is the first city in Metro Manila to have a Reproductive Health Ordinance. Data collected from 1996 to 2006 between Manila and Quezon City from the Department of Health-Field Health Service Information System by Dr. Jonathan Flavier showed how Quezon City has reduced the number of live births in the city and more importantly, the number of maternal deaths.

“I hope that the Representatives of Manila in Congress will take a cue from this survey since a number of Congressmen from Manila are not supportive of the RH Bill pending in Congress.” De Leon said.

The FORUM is a non-stock, non-profit and non governmental organization composed of experts, well-known personalities and supporters of population management, health and family welfare, who are highly committed to make a difference in people’s lives.

For queries, please log on at http://www.forum4fp.org or send e-mail at forum4fp@yahoo.com, you may also call the telephone numbers (+632) 426-5484 and (+632) 436-3269.

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