POPCOM, or the Commission on Population and Development, has advised community pantry organizers that it would be wise to include contraceptives on their table of goods. These contraceptives can include condoms and pills like birth control.
POPCOM Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez released a statement on Monday that encouraged the distribution of family planning items that could help prevent unplanned and teenage pregnancies.
“POPCOM is very much supportive of community pantries as a form of collective action in alleviating the need for sustenance of our less privileged. We believe that they will welcome the addition of condoms and pills among the goods they will source—with the help of their local healthcare personnel,” he said.
The advice is apt for this time, as the Philippines is currently experiencing a “lockdown baby boom.” According to projections from the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the United Nations Population Fund, the country can expect to see an extra 214,000 unplanned births in the upcoming year.
The number is staggering considering that Philippine hospitals are already flooded by 1.7 million births each year, most of which come from impoverished families.
To combat overpopulation, POPCOM has advocated for family planning methods such as birth control pills and condoms. Pills, which need prescriptions or enrollment in family planning programs, can be distributed with the help of BHWs (barangay health workers) and BPVs (barangay population volunteers).
Perez also stated that condoms could be freely given to sexually active individuals to “avoid HIV infections” and other “STIs” (sexually transmitted infections). They’re also effective against unplanned pregnancies.
Meanwhile, POPCOM has called for its regional units to work hand-in-hand with community pantries and local health officials.
“These cover the re-supply of the commodities to their existing family planning clients, the provision of onsite family planning information via distribution of related printed materials and installation of tarpaulins featuring family planning methods, and the extension of possible assistance that LGUs may request — subject to resources available,” the agency said in a statement.