Favoring family planning won?t spell defeat in polls ? Pulse Asia

The survey, commissioned by the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation Inc., said one out of two or 52 percent of Filipinos believe that candidates will win if they support family planning while 41 percent said it will not influence voters’ choice

It also showed that only six percent of Filipinos believe candidates who support modern family planning methods, or artificial methods to critics, will lose in the elections.   

PLCPD said the findings dispelled the misconception that voters would thumb down candidates who openly support modern methods of family planning as a national policy of the government in this predominantly Catholic country.

Kalayaan Pulido-Constantino, PLCPD program manager, said the findings showed that it is important for Filipinos to be able to control fertility and plan one's family; for the government to allocate funds for artificial methods of family planning, and for candidates to include family planning in their platform.

Pulido said most candidates running for national or local posts think they will lose [in the elections] even if they know they need to support modern family planning methods.

She named only four senatorial candidates who have expressed clearly that they are supporting the method — Sen. Panfilo Lacson, former senator Loren Legarda, Sorsogon Rep. Francis Escudero, and educator Sonia Roco.

Pulido appealed to candidates to look at the other side and listen to the electorate as she cited highlights of the survey in a press conference at the Grand Men Seng Hotel here Friday.

"These coming elections, we call on candidates to break the silence and apathy on these issues," he said.

Pulido said the Arroyo administration has ignored the "people's overwhelming clamor" for family planning and reproductive health legislation, programs, and services.

"We are deeply concerned how the administration has continuously ignored this expressed need by the majority, preferring to hide instead under the false claim that "modern family planning methods are not wholeheartedly accepted by the people."

Results of the survey showed that 76 percent or nearly eight out of 10 Filipinos want their candidates to include family planning in their program of action.

Most of the respondents believe the Roman Catholic Church should not participate in discussions on the family planning methods couples should use.

About 44 percent of around 1,800 respondents nationwide discounted Church intervention while 33 percent said the church should take part. 

About 92 percent of the respondents nationwide think it is important for Filipinos to plan one's family.

Als, 89 percent said the government should allocate a budget for modern methods of family planning including funds for the purchase of pills, intra-uterine devices (IUD), condoms, litigation, and vasectomy.

She said the survey, conducted among respondents with ages 18 and above from Feb. 28 to March 5, showed Filipinos are demanding from the government a clear program on family planning. The survey allowed a 2-percent margin of error.

PLCPD said it is disturbing that the government had been issuing statements it will not support moves to legislate a national policy on "modern" family planning methods.

Magdalena Abellera, an official from the United Nations Population Fund in Southern Mindanao, said it is alarming because international donors will stop their support to the country's population control program next year.

Pulido noted that the survey showed that one out of two Filipinos agrees that rapid population growth hinders the country's development.

Rosena Sanchez, a trustee of the Development of Peoples Foundation Inc., said that while the national policy is not yet there, efforts should be done to legislate reproductive health policies in the local governments.