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POPCOM will publish an action plan to address population challenges.

The Commission will unveil a plan of action to solve the country’s population-related problems on Population and Development (POPCOM).

POPCOM executive director Lisa Grace Bersales stated during the national data distribution session on the 2022 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) Final Report on Tuesday that the action plan was created considering the NDHS findings.

“The commission created the Philippine Population Development Plan of Action 2023–2028 with timely information thanks to the PSA’s timely publication of the 2022 NDHS results. The information is currently crucial to our ability to pinpoint areas for action that will address pressing issues, according to Bersales.

The action plan, which will be made public soon, “provides a roadmap of coordinated and organized efforts to address remaining and persistent population issues at all levels and to maximize the demographic opportunities that will support President (Ferdinand) Marcos (Jr.)’s Philippine Development Plan.”

The total fertility rate (TFR) among women in reproductive years, namely those aged 15 to 49, decreased from 2.7 children in 2017 to 1.9 children in 2022, according to the NDHS performed by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The TFR has reportedly decreased over time, going from 4.1 in 1993 to 1.9 last year, according to the paper.

However, the study also found that 5% of women between 15 and 19 have ever given birth.

The region with the greatest percentage of adolescent pregnancies was Northern Mindanao (11%) followed by Davao (8%) and the region with the lowest rate, 2%) was Ilocos and Bicol.

While teenage pregnancies have decreased, Bersales says, “one teenage pregnancy is one too much.”

She continued, “So that is still a concern,” noting that POPCOM is particularly concerned about the rise in teenage pregnancies among girls aged 10 to 14.

These are youngsters; they are not teenagers. That one is not in the NDHS, but I would want to suggest it.

In addition, Bersales brought up research showing that only 24% of unmarried women between the ages of 15 and 49 utilize contemporary contraception, compared to 42% of married women.

She claimed that these findings warn the government about which population groups should receive priority attention for infertility-related concerns.

She continued that the Commission on Population Development has already created the Philippine Population and Development Plan of Action for 2023 to 2028 to maximize demographic opportunities and address remaining population issues and challenges for all citizens to experience socioeconomic dividends and improved quality of life.

According to Bersales, POPCOM recommends eight action areas created using data from NDHS and other sources.

These include focusing on adolescent health and development, employing lifecycle approaches to human development, and promoting family development through responsible parenting and family planning.

“The other action areas are inclusive development of the marginalized population, the poorest sector, the less educated, the indigenous people, the people with disabilities, and those in the basic sector. She said that the commission’s primary responsibility is to inform the various sectors of the various nexuses in their particular industry regarding population development or human capital.

According to Bersales, the action plan would also emphasize the local level.

“We already have an approved devolution transition plan for a people-centered regional and local development approach,” she continued.

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