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Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370
18 February 2009

An overwhelming 86% of residents of the City of Manila are in favor of the enactment of the reproductive health bill now pending before Congress according to the results of the latest survey conducted from December 27-29, 2008 and released today by the SWS.

“This is 15% higher than the result of the nationwide survey conducted by the SWS in September 2008,” said Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, principal author of House Bill 5043 on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development.

Lagman said that 88% of Manila residents also agree that government must be required by law to teach family planning to the youth compared to the results of the earlier national survey which revealed that 76% of Filipinos favored the inclusion of family planning in the school curriculum.

Moreover, 64% say that there should be a statute mandating government to distribute condoms, pills and IUDs to people who want to avail of modern contraceptive methods.

Lagman also revealed that 78% of Manila residents agreed with the statement “Population growth increases poverty incidence”.

“These results are not surprising. They merely confirm the results of surveys done as early as two decades ago that Filipinos strongly support RH and family planning and see a link between population and poverty,” the Albay solon underscored.

The belief that poverty and population are interrelated, according to Lagman, “is translated into reality by the results of the same survey which also showed that 39.1% of families with more than nine members experienced hunger in the three months preceding the survey compared to the 18.2% who experienced hunger in a family with four members.”

Lagman said that legislators must heed the results of the two most recent SWS surveys on population and family planning which clearly indicate that a huge percentage of Filipinos are in favor of contraceptive use and would like to see the RH bill passed into law.

“These survey results can also be considered a backlash to de facto ban on modern contraceptives since 2000 in the City of Manila by former Mayor Lito Atienza,” Lagman added.

Atienza, now Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, faced a lawsuit filed by Manila residents who asserted that Executive Order No. 003 issued by the former Mayor violated their right to family planning which entails the right of women and couples to choose the family planning method best for them; right to health because when women are deprived of family planning services, they are at greater risk of maternal death; and right to privacy because they were in effect forcibly required to use natural family planning to the exclusion of any other method.