One of the main programs of the Aquino Administration was the creation of autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras. Hence, Section 15, Article 10 of the 1987 Constitution provided for the creation of said autonomous regions.
In anticipation of the creation of said regions, President Corazon C. Aquino on July 15, 1987, issued Executive Order 220 which called for the establishment of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). The CAR composed the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao, Mountain Province, and chartered City of Baguio. Subsequently, President Aquino issued Aministrative Order 36 which provided for the establishment of regional offices in CAR.
By virtue of AO36, different line agencies of the national government started putting-up regional offices–the Population Commission (POPCOM) being one of these offices.
In 1988, groundwork for the establishment of the POPCOM-CAR went underway. Through the efforts of the Ilocos Regional Population Office under the leadership of Oscar P. Mabalot, Regional Director, and Marcial S. Terrado, preparations for the establishment of the regional office were made possible.Thus on May 2, 1989, the POPCOM-CAR, with an initial staff of twelve, was finally established.
As an agency tasked to uplift and develop the social standing of the people of the Cordillera region, the POPCOM-CAR revolved around the general objective which was to support the national government in improving its effort in ahieving consistency of plans, policies, and programs by systematically incorporating population concerns into the wider spectrum of development efforts. More specifically, the programs of the POPCOM-CAR aimed at (1) integrating population concerns in development plans, policies and programs at the national, regional and local levels; and (2)support and implement the impact of population-related factors on development projects.
Seventeen heads of state including the Philippine President signed the United Nations Declaration on Population which stressed: The Population problem must be recognized as a principal element in long-range planning, if governments are to achieve their economic goals and fulfill the aspirations of their people.
The Philippine Population Program was officially launched through the Executive Order No. 233. The Commission on Population (POPCOM) was mandated to serve as the central coordinating and policy making body of the government in the field of population.
Republic Act 6365, known as the Population Act of the Philippines was enacted into law by Congress.
Presidential Decree 79 was signed directing public and private sectors to undertake a National Family Planning Program which respects the religious beliefs and values of individuals.
Presidential Decree 166 further strengthened the Program. It required the participation of private organizations and individuals in the formulation and implementation of population programs and policies.
Executive Order No. 123 attached POPCOM to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as the planning and coordinating agency.
Policy statement under the Aquino Administration was issued by the POPCOM Board which states: “the ultimate goal of the Population Program is the improvement of the quality of human life in a just and humane society… The achievement of this goal requires a recognition of the close interrelationships among population, resources and environmental factors.”
Executive Order No. 408, was issued placing POPCOM under the Office of the President in order to “facilitate coordination of policies and programs relative to population.”
Executive Order No. 476 was issued making POPCOM an attached agency of the National Economic and Development Authority.
Adoption of the Philippine Population Management Program and the Population, Resources and Environment Framework by the Ramos Administration.
The Estrada Administration reformulated the Philippine Population Management Program with Responsible Parenthood as its lynchpin.
On March 24, 2003, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 188 attaching POPCOM to the Department of Health.
In a Statement of Support, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo joined “the community of nations in expressing support for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).”? The statement also reiterated the principles that guide the Philippine government in the implementation of population program. These principles are based on the four (4) pillars of Responsible Parenthood, Respect for Life, Birth Spacing, and Informed Choice. Health services, including Reproductive Health services, are devolved by the Local Government Code to the local government units. Local Government Units have the responsibility of providing couples and individuals with information and services to enable them to exercise Responsible Parenthood.
On October 10, 2006, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued guidelines and directive for the DOH, POPCOM, and local government units to take full charge of the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Program. The Responsible Parenthood and Natural Family Planning Program ‘s primary policy objective is to promote natural family planning, birth spacing (three years birth spacing) and breastfeeding which are good for the health of the mother, child, family, and community. While LGUs can promote artificial family planning because of local autonomy, the national government advocates natural family planning.