Malacanang claims credit for population growth – On what basis?

I felt the need to check on Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita’s statements using official statistics.  I aim to show that the statements made by an administration mouthpiece are inaccurate.. .
  • From the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 14 August 2008 issue, page A15:
Yesterday in Malacanang, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said it was ‘not farfetched’ that the government had been sufficiently effective in explaining the need to control population growth.  According to Ermita, Filipinos may have heeded Ms. Arroyo’s call for natural family planning methods [underscoring mine] and some may be using artificial methods, but all the same, these have contributed to the current population rate.
‘So it’s not necessarily a misrepresentation of facts,’ Ermita told reporters in response to the claim of a group of former government officials that Arroyo had fudged figures to show that her administration’s promotion of natural family planning had helped stem population growth [underscoring mine].
1.  Did her call/policy increase the use of natural family planning methods by currently married women, 15-44 years old?No, in fact from the data below, use of modern (read: artificial) family methods even increased, in the absence of government support. The administration has no right to claim credit for the slowdown in the population growth to about 2 percent in 2007 from 2.34 percent in 2000.


2.  Has she done what is necessary to promote her population policy?Assuming without granting that she is convinced of the use of natural family planning as most effective in attaining sustainable development and safeguarding child and maternal health, evidence shows that women still have more children than they desire, – an impact indicator of the effectiveness of her population policy and program.  GMA as head of state is apparently not doing enough and allocating sufficient resources to support her position and that of the administration on the issue.

[1] The increase in contraceptive use in the last five years was essentially due to the increase in use of modern methods < >, from 28 percent to 33 percent as the use of traditional methods < > actually declined from 18 percent to 16 percent. Most of the gain in modern contraceptive use was due to an increase in the use of the pill, from 10 percent to 13 percent. …
<Modern methods: sterilization, pill, IUD, injectable, male condom, mucus/billings/ ovulation, lactational amenorrhea method>
<Traditional methods: calendar/rhythm/ periodic abstinence, withdrawal>
[2] The 2003 National Demographic and Health Survey also shows that Filipino women still bear more children than they desire. If they could prevent births that they declare as ‘unwanted’, Filipino women would have, on average, 2.5 births, or exactly one birth less than the number they currently have (3.5 births).
Relevant Tables
Table 1.  Percentage of currently married women age 15-49 using modern and traditional family planning methods, Philippines 1968-2003
Survey Modern Traditional All
methods methods methods
1973 National Demographic Survey1 10.7 6.7 17.4
1978 Republic of the Philippines Fertility Survey1 17.2 21.3 38.5
1983 National Demographic Survey1 18.9 13.1 32
1988 National Demographic Survey 21.6 14.5 36.1
1993 National Demographic Survey 24.9 15.1 40
1998 National Demographic and Health Survey 28.2 18.3 46.5
2003 National Demographic and Health Survey 33.4 15.5 48.9
1 Calculated for currently married women 15-44 years
Table 5.  Total wanted fertility rate and total fertility rate for the three years preceding the survey, Philippines 1993-2003
Survey Year Total Wanted Total Fertility Rate
Fertility Rate
Births per Woman
1993 2.9 4.1
1998 2.7 3.7
2003 2.5 3.5

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Filed under contraceptive use, family planning, Philippines, population, statistics

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