The NSCB report, which was released Dec. 12, said the region's contraceptive prevalence rate or the proportion of currently married women in the reproductive ages of 15-49 years reporting current use of any contraceptive method dropped to 50.3 percent in 2006 from the 51.9 percent recorded in 2005.
The report, which was based on the 2006 Family Planning Survey of the National Statistics Office, covered the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Herlita Caraan, NSCB Region 12 chief, said the decrease in the percentage of contraceptive users was due to the drop in the percentage of users of modern methods of family planning, which only reached 38.6 percent from the previous 42.6 percent.
But she pointed out that the percentage of married couples who used the traditional methods increased to 11.7 percent in 2006 from the previous year's 9.3 percent.
She said the preferred method for contraceptive users in the region is still pills, which registered 18.1 percent, followed by calendar method at 8.9 percent and sterilization at 8.3 percent.
Caraan said contraceptive use was highest among married women aged 30-34 at 60.7 percent followed by women aged 35-39 at 56.9 percent.
She said only 18.4 percent of teenaged couples reported use of any contraceptive method.
Based on the type of occupation, Caraan said the trade workers reported the highest contraceptive use at 59.3 percent, closely followed by farmers, forestry workers and fisher folks at 58.1 percent and technicians and associate professionals reported 57.4 percent.
She said the professionals category reported a 51.3 percent use of contraceptives while those "not gainfully employed" reported 47.9 percent usage.
By economic status, she said only 47.1 percent of poor women use any method of family planning compared to the 53.5 percent of those who are considered in the higher economic classes.
Overall, Caraan added that South Cotabato registered the highest contraceptive usage rate at 54.3 percent followed by Cotabato Province at 51.2 percent, Sarangani 47 percent and Sultan Kudarat at 46.9 percent. Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews