Advocacy and Technical Assistance 2008

Code:    08-078
Date:    01/02/2008 - 12/31/2008

PCPD continues to build and expand popdev constituencies to influence policy and programs at all levels of governance. To generate broad-based support for its advocacy efforts, PCPD reached out to various organization with a stake on population and development. Following were its advocacy projects in 2008:

(1) A forum with business leaders was conducted by the International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov).  The activity surfaced a two-pronged strategy for engaging key stakeholders on popdev: to develop a well-crafted, well-financed IEC campaign on popdev, and to dialogue with the Church and other faith-based organizations in a more formal, direct and constructive manner.

(2) Strengthening ties with the religious sector, PCPD sponsored two fora for seminarians and church educators in Cebu City through the Seminaryo Mayor De San Carlos, and Cagayan De Oro City through the Archdiocese of Cagayan De Oro.  These efforts created awareness and appreciation on various perspectives on popdev, as well as on issues where the support of the Catholic Church can make a difference.

(3) PCPD sponsored another forum for popdev service providers and implementers to share the results of the UP College of Mass Communication Foundation research, Filipino Ratitionalities: Exploring the Gap Between Knowledge and Practice in Family Planning and Contraceptive Use.The sharing emphasized the need for a behavior-change campaign on the opportunity cost of early pregnancy, and to find a communication model that can affect how couples settle or change their fertility goals, among others.  A poster-presentation of this study won First Prize in the Scientific Poster Competition for Cluster I (Social Sciences) during the 76th General Assembly of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP).

(4) The Bureau of Secondary Education-Department of Education (BSE-DepED) and PCPD inked an Agreement to hold a nationwide essay writing contest for 2008 targeting all secondary public schools. The contest aimed to deepen the youth's awareness and understanding of population and development issues that affect their lives. The winners declared in October 2008 in Tagbilaran City were Charmaine R. Almendra (First Place) of the St. Mary’s University, Nueva Viscaya; Jan Nicole Datu (Second Place), Angeles City Science High School, Pampanga; and Karina Lei C. Relatado (Third Place), Digos City National Highschool, Davao del Sur.  They were awarded cash prizes and plaques on October 19,2008 in Tagbilaran City.  The winners and their coaches were also given the rare opportunity to witness the 2008 National Population Quiz and to tour Tagbilaran City in Bohol. PCPD aims to make this national essay-writing contest an annual event by institutionalizing it through the BSE-DepED in order to highlight the responsiveness of education in promoting curricular programs related to societal concerns like population education.

(5) The John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues (JJICSI) has been running a Natural Family Planning (NFP) program in Payatas, Quezon City for more than four years now. Its main objectives are to assist parents in Payatas become responsible through NFP, and to respond to the need for a natural, inexpensive and holistic approach to family planning in an urban poor community.  In the course of implementing the program, the Institute deemed it necessary to assess the effectiveness of the program. Results of the study showed, of the 390 women interviewed, 260 or 66.67% never used NFP despite four years of training, recruitment and follow-up work of the Tahanan NFP Program in Payatas.  Of the 130 users, 103 stopped using NFP due to pregnancy, difficulty in using the methods, lack of support from the husband, desire to have a child, absence/death of husband, and menopausal age of the user.  Eleven former users of the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) and five former users of the Standard Days Method (SDM) admitted using back-up methods such as pills or condoms during the period of abstinence.  After four years of work, the Program has only produced 27 current users out of the 130 users. The study concludes there is a degree of "trainer failure" in instructing women on NFP.  This failure is possible in any program which aims at a target number of recruited practitioners, but cannot provide intense training and follow-up of both trainers and trainees.  There is a question also of how one communicates values, which is essential to a successful NFP program.

(6) Responding to the advocacy demand of HB 5043 or the Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development Bill, PCPD spearheaded the following activities: (a) hosting of several meetings with business leaders, religious leaders and legislators to elucidate on popdev and the intent of the Bill; (b) planning sessions with civil society/popdev advocates to craft and implement a multi-network advocacy plan; (c) sponsorship of symposia by the Association of Foundations (AF) and the Philippine Population Association, Inc. (PPA) to generate broader support on the Bill; (d) public information using the print media; the two print ads published by the Foundation highlighted the Pulse Asia Survey indicating consistent clamor of Filipinos for RH care, family planning and popdev services; and showcased wide constituency among civil society groups on RH; (e) development of a long-term and short-term communication and media plans through the effort of an advertising company, Campaigns and Grey, Inc.; and (f) sharing of evidence-based information that indirectly rationalizes the need for the Bill; research reports - Population-Growth-Poverty Nexus: Evidence from the Philippines by Dennis Mapa, Arsenio Balisacan, et al., Exploring Reasons for Low Level of Use of Modern Family Planning Methods by Clarissa David, and Religiosity and Contraceptive Use among Filipino Youth by Jenna Mae Atun - were packaged into reader-friendly monographs; and the book, a Balancing Act: Social and Catholic Perspectives on Population and Development was reprinted.