Contact Details

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


Nature abhors excesses, like an inordinate population growth rate which exacerbates climate change and the deterioration of the environment.

The recent tragic flooding of many areas in Metro Manila and the provinces attests to this verity.

A smaller population would avoid (1) habitation of river banks and conversion of former river beds into residential subdivisions; (2) minimize the volume of solid waste which clog waterways and drainage systems; and (3) reduce the denudation of forests by lowlanders seeking shelter and livelihood in forested areas, all of which contribute to flooding.

In 2004, Conservation International-Philippines, the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) conducted a much needed study entitled “Mapping Population-Biodiversity Connections in the Philippines” (MPBCP) which examined the interrelatedness of rapid population growth and the continuing deterioration of our environment.

The study confirmed that a ballooning population is central to the problems of air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity, depletion of agricultural land and animal habitat, global warming and many other crucial environmental issues.

The British medical journal Lancet recently underscored the connection of population dynamics, reproductive health and rights and climate change. It asserted that reducing unmet need for family planning “could slow high rates of population growth, thereby reducing demographic pressure on the environment.”

Lancet also cited a British report which says family planning is five times cheaper than usual technologies used to fight climate change. According to the report, each $7 spent on basic family planning would slash global carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1 ton as opposed to at least $32 spent on green technologies.

Typhoon “Ondoy” is an eye-opener on the critical immediacy of enacting the reproductive health bill on family planning, responsible parenthood and population development, which is principally authored by Rep. Edcel C. Lagman.

Promoting both the natural and artificial methods of family planning is truly cost effective in protecting the environment from the onslaught of population explosion.

The UNICEF has prescribed that “family planning could bring more benefits to more people at less cost than any other single technology now available to the human race.”

Rep. Edcel C. Lagman
24 September 2009

“The enactment of the RH bill will tremendously enhance the country’s meeting its commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, particularly improvement of maternal health (MDG 5) and reduction of infant mortality (MDG 4).”

This was underscored by Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, principal author of HB No. 5043 on “Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development”.

Millennium Development Goal 5, which aims to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015, is the MDG least likely to be achieved.

In the Philippines, 11 women die daily from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. The Maternal Mortality Ratio in the country was 209 per 100,000 live births in the early 1990s. In 1998, MMR fell to 172 but has stagnated thereafter to 162 up to 2006.

“At this pace of reduction, the target of reducing MMR to 52 by 2015 will be unattainable unless a law on reproductive health which will encourage voluntary family planning is put in place,” Lagman said.

Quoting documents from the Department of Reproductive Health and Research of the WHO, Lagman said that “of the more than 500,000 maternal deaths worldwide, one-third could be prevented by the correct and consistent use of contraceptives and about 1 million deaths of children under the age of five could be prevented with effective family planning methods.”

The UNFPA emphasized that “about 90 per cent of abortion-related deaths and disabilities worldwide could be avoided if women who wished to plan their families had access to effective contraception.”

Statistics from the UNFPA also reveal that of the more than half a million maternal deaths annually worldwide, 99% happen to women in developing countries like the Philippines.

In addition to the current 131 coauthors of the RH bill, seven more members of the House of Representatives have signified their intention to coauthor the bill, Lagman disclosed.

01 August 2009
415-5455 / 0918-9120137



One facet of the character of President Cory Aquino which to my mind stands out is her respect for and capacity to tolerate differing views and opposing partisan positions.

In early 1992, I visited her in Malacañang to ask for the release of a badly needed additional P5-M for the completion of the Tabaco National High School Sports Complex. She ordered the funding release despite a memorandum form the then Executive Secretary Frank Drilon that my district had already received its share of budgetary releases.

But this is peripheral. The point is we talked for about 30 to 45 minutes and she never even hinted that I consider shifting my support to her anointed Presidential candidate Fidel Ramos. She knew I was a diehard Ramon Mitra supporter.

She respected my political persuasion and did not attempt to change it with the budgetary support she had just given to my district, or the fact that she once appointed me as her Undersecretary of the Department of Budget and Management shortly after the EDSA People Power Revolution.

Abolition of the Death Penalty is a Progressive and Humane Legislation

Rep. Edcel C. Lagman (LAKAS-KAMPI CMD, Albay), principal author of R.A. No. 9346 which abolished the death penalty on 24 January 2006, rejected calls for the re-imposition of the capital punishment.

“Knee-jerk reactions to the commission of a sensational crime do not justify the reversal of a progressive and humane legislation,” Lagman emphasized.

Lagman added that “it took the Philippines almost two decades, six Congresses and four Presidents to finally purge our penal statutes of the death penalty consistent with its abolition by the 1987 Constitution.”

Lamentably, there are again proponents for its re-imposition after three years and a half only.

Lagman also said that “the long crusade which was waged and anchored on empirical data, overriding reasons and worldwide advocacy should not be put to naught by misplaced calls for retribution and deterrence.”

It was President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s full support for the passage of the abolition measure that accelerated and assured the repeal of the death penalty.

In opposing the re-imposition of the supreme penalty, Lagman underscored the following:

1.    Modern and progressive penology is oriented toward rehabilitation and restorative justice, not punitive execution.

2.    Empirical studies, both local and international, have debunked the theory that the severity of the penalty deters the commission of heinous crimes.

3.    What forecloses the commission of a crime is the realization by the prospective offender of the swiftness of apprehension, speediness of prosecution and the certainty of conviction once warranted.

4.    The efficacious antidote to criminality is not the penalty but an efficient and honest police, prosecutorial and judicial system.

The celebration of World Population Day brings to mind a great Filipino who was among the first to champion family planning and pioneer the inclusion of family planning as an indispensable component of the agenda on sustainable human development.

This Filipino was Rafael Salas who served for eighteen years as the first Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, then known as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).

For his efforts in promoting worldwide family planning and reproductive health as universal human rights and underscoring the inevitable linkage between population and development, he earned internationally the title of “Mr. Population”.

It is unfortunate that his own Philippines lags behind in the implementation of his world-acclaimed agenda on population as it relates to human development, and our country has yet to enact a nationwide and comprehensive statute or law on family planning, reproductive health and population development which is genuinely health and rights-based and adequately funded.

But all is not lost. We are still optimistic that the Third Session of the Fourteenth Congress will finally witness the passage of the reproductive health bills in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

This optimism is based on the following realities:

1.    130 Members of the House of Representatives have co-authored the RH Bill and they have remained steadfast in their advocacy.

2.    This number at any given time constitutes a majority of the quorum of the House of Representatives wherein only a simple majority of the quorum is needed to approve the measure.

3.    The co-authors are augmented by about two dozens Congresspersons who have pledged to vote for the RH bill despite their being not overt signatories.

4.    The overwhelming public support for the bill has been consistent for almost two decades as documented by surveys after surveys both nationwide and local.

5.    Multi-sectoral endorsement is mounting from the vast NGO community, academe, labor, business, professionals, youth and inter-faith partnership of Christian churches and Muslim communities.

6.    There is bicameral favorable action in the Senate.

7.    The MDGs will be more attainable, particularly the improvement of maternal health, reduction of infant mortality, universal primary education and eradication of poverty and hunger, once the RH bill becomes a law since family planning: (a) reduces the incidence of risky and unwanted pregnancies which result to maternal and infant deaths as well as abortions; (b) promotes birth spacing; and (c) allows women and couples to plan the number of their children whom they could afford to educate, medicate and truly love and care for.

8.    The country’s coping with the global economic meltdown can be made easier with the passage of the RH bill because the lesser the size of the population, the greater would be the efficacy of the government’s response to the crisis.

9.    The mitigation of the population growth rate (PGR) will generate savings which will enable the country to invest more on education, health, food security, employment, mass housing and the environment.

10.    With the definitive political will of Congress, the growing support of the Filipino people and the realization and understanding of the nexus between population and development, it would be unwise for the Executive to reject the RH bill.