In the face of a pandemic affecting the Philippines, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) reminds Filipino couples to always practice responsible parenthood and family planning.

According to POPCOM, as couples and families are strictly advised to stay at home during the enhanced community quarantine, the opportunity also allows for spousal and parental dialogue as well as shared responsibilities at home. However, it also poses challenges on them to prevent unplanned pregnancies, primarily because of interrupted access to family planning supplies and services.

Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, MD, MPH said that POPCOM will continue to advocate for the provision of basic family planning services in local communities as part of the essential services needed by couples and individuals to prevent the longer impact of unintended pregnancies.

โ€œBeing a health agency, it is our duty and commitment to the Filipino people to remind them that family planningโ€”especially during situations when persons are asked to stay indoorsโ€”should always be accessed and practiced,โ€ POPCOMโ€™s executive director said.

โ€œWe are uncertain as to when the health emergency caused by COVID-19 will abate. As such, we do not want to add on to the current situation with another possible crisis caused by unplanned pregnancies, as they could bear added weight to our already strained medical institutions,โ€ the POPCOM chief emphasized. โ€œWe therefore call on couples and individuals to keep in mind family planning as they try to maintain their overall health and well-being inside their respective homes during these trying times.โ€

The head of POPCOM issued this reminder to prevent unintended pregnancies during the expanded community quarantine. He said that historically, there are spikes in unplanned pregnancies during natural calamities when couples and individuals cohabitate for longer periods.

Currently, POPCOM is planning to continue its work on demand generation on family planning services by reaching out to the households and using the social media. It will encourage local government units to tap barangay population volunteers initially in the National Capital Region to help educate communities on COVID-19 and provide family planning supplies for continuing users of pills and condoms which will last for three months, given the enhanced community quarantine being implemented in Luzon.

Its family wellness clinic at the POPCOM central office in Welfareville, Acacia Lane, Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City will remain open to serve couples and individuals with immediate family planning needs.

Those on Facebook who may have inquiries on family planning may use the Messenger function of the Usap Tayo sa Family Planning(@UsapTayoSaFP) to talk to family planning officers, who are on duty from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. #UsapTayosaFPUsec Perez