POPCOM to pursue programs elevating Pinoy families’ quality of life amid ‘new normal’

Marje Pelayo   •   July 26, 2021   •   243

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) vows to ensure that Filipino families will have the capacity to enhance their quality of living amid increasing population numbers and a surging COVID pandemic.

To do this, the agency will pursue appropriate strategies and interventions by working together with relevant partners, stakeholders and the academe, covering the whole of government, as well as the public and private sectors.

On Monday (July 26), POPCOM marks the seventh birthdays of 100 Filipino children whose birth anniversaries signaled the Philippines surpassing its population count of 100 million in 2014.

The agency has considered the birthdays of the 100 millionth symbolic babies as significant as they symbolize the Philippines’ growing populace and the numerous challenges it poses to a government with modest resources in providing for the welfare and wellbeing of every child.

Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio Perez III emphasized that the improvement in the quality of lives of Filipino families is not only the lookout of the government.

It is a responsibility of the entire Philippine society in accordance with the current administration’s commitment for every citizen to have a stable, comfortable and secure life, or “Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay.”

“Children at seven years old are in the midst of a phase of rapid growth, as their needs also tend to change,” expounded Perez.

“It is at this stage of their lives that they need to be monitored closely on their physical, intellectual and social-emotional development. The additional 9 million Filipinos since the birth of these children calls for the entire government to implement programs that promote inclusive growth, ensuring that no one is left behind,” he added.

He likewise shared that national and local governments have measures in place to safeguard and promote a Filipino child’s welfare and wellbeing, as well as interventions that protect kids from serious health and development concerns.

POPCOM and its regional offices are continuously working closely with various local government units and the national government in monitoring the growth and development of the “symbolic Pinoy children,” now that they are entering elementary school and beginning to exhibit signs of personal independence.

POPCOM: Over 70% of barangays in PH vulnerable to COVID-19 infection

Marje Pelayo   •   August 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Population (POPCOM) has come up with a study revealing a large number of barangays in the country are vulnerable to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection. 

Specifically, the agency revealed that over 70 percent of 42,046 barangays in the country are facing high risk of COVID-19 infection because of congestion, crowded housing conditions and the growing number of senior citizens.

Based on POPCOM’s data, the most crowded areas include Region-4A, Region 7 and the National Capital Region (NCR).

In Metro Manila alone, 1,258 barangays or a total of 812,584 houses are considered crowded. 

These houses measure to about 20 square meters in floor area each and have an average of at least five occupants.

“So kung titingnan mo, dikit-dikit ang mga kabahayan, maliliit sila, may kasamang senior citizen. Talagang magkakaroon ng problema ang komunidad kung pumasok ang COVID (So if you look at it, the houses are too close to each other, cramped and would usually include an elderly resident. It is a serious problem for the community once penetrated by COVID-19),” explained POPCOM Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III.

The agency stressed that the national government will not be able to eliminate COVID-19 if the local government and the barangays will not exert effort in curbing transmission.

Apart from the localized lockdowns, barangay officials should vigorously check every household within the community to identify those with symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

To do this, POPCOM recommends mobilizing barangay officials and to include them in the contract tracing team as they are already familiar with residents within their area.

Usec. Perez said volunteers can be tapped without spending a huge amount of funds.

Talagang volunteerism ito. Hindi kailangan ang may sweldo (It would be volunteerism. A salary is not necessary),” Perez said.

“There are 200,000 barangay health workers. Mayroong mga 15, 000 population volunteers; nutrition scholars mga 40,000. Sila ang i-tap natin. Sila ang sanay umikot sa barangay. Kilala nila ang mga kapitbahay nila, (There are around 15,000 population volunteers, and about 40,000 nutrition scholars . Let’s tap them. They’re used to making rounds in their barangays. They know their neighbors),” he added.

POPCOM believes that a potential COVID-19 carrier who roams around the community could infect about 28 persons in a week. 

Thus, the agency stressed that apart from hospitals, barangay officials must give priority to their respective communities given that only about five percent of the barangays across the country have existing contract tracing teams.

“Sa ospital sinasagot na lang niya ang mga kakulangan sa komunidad (Hospitals just augment what is lacking in the community),” Perez explained.

“Ang ibig sabihin niyan pag puno ang ospital nagkukulang ang public health sa barangay (It means, when hospitals reach full capacity, it’s because barangay public health facilities are falling short),” he added.

Perez noted that though the implementation of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) is best for the economy, he suggests an assessment of the areas where quarantine restrictions can be lifted or tightened.

Perez said, maintaining the operation of industries that employ a high percentage of the marginalized sector, such as manufacturing, could also help improve the country’s overall situation. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

COVID-19 may infect up to 60% of PH population if ECQ is ignored — POPCOM

Marje Pelayo   •   April 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Population (POPCOM) fears the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may infect millions of Filipinos in a period of one year if the public will not support the government’s measures in fighting the disease.

In an interview with UNTV’s Get It Straight with Daniel Razon, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary and POPCOM Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III said such estimate is based on the experience of other countries that also suffered the virulence of COVID-19.

Baka sa loob ng isang taon hanggang Disyembre ay umabot ng 40 to 60 percent ng population ay magkaroon ng COVID-19 [There’s a possibility that come December, about 40 to 60 percent of the country’s population is infected with COVID-19],” Perez warned.

Pero katulad ng sinasabi nila, 80% ng magkakaroon ng COVID-19 ay walang sintomas or very mild lamang ang symptoms [And like what experts were saying, about 80 percent of the people who may be infected by COVID-19 show no symptoms or just have mild symptoms], ” he added.

Usec. Perez noted the huge impact that the crisis may have on the elderly sector or the senior citizens who are considered the most vulnerable.  

“Batay sa bilang namin at ng (University of the Philippines Population Institute) may 5.5 million na senior citizen tayo na dalikado sa ganitong sitwasyon kaya mahigpit ang bilin na huwag silang lalabas ng bahay,” he said.

[Based on (POPCOM) and the UPPI’s tally, the country has about 5.5 million senior citizens who are at risk that’s why we are strictly warning them to stay at home.]

The official also noted that the country’s health system will be greatly burdened if the number of COVID-19 patients reaches 50,000 due to the scarcity of ventilators.

At present, the country has only about 1,500 ventilators, Usec. Perez said.

Another possibility is the rise in the number of unplanned pregnancies which may reach 50,000 to 100,000 if family planning programs will not be implemented during the ECQ.

The Philippines has a current population of 109,236,504 as of Tuesday (April 7) based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data. MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

Family planning urged amid enhanced community quarantine

Marje Pelayo   •   March 26, 2020

Courtesy : Rawpixel.com

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) plans to release helpful guidelines to ensure unhampered execution of other health-related programs of the government amid the imposed enhanced community quarantine.

According to POPCOM, programs on family planning and reproductive health must be implemented side by side to avert population growth at this time of health crisis.

Economic and Development Undersecretary and POPCOm Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III explained that increase in population is highly possible during lockdown as couples are expected to spend most of their time with each other and their families.

Records show that during the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, a significant growth in population was noted in Eastern Samar as residents remained in evacuation centers.

“Kung hindi tayo magpatuloy ng programa natin sa family planning, dadami ang bilang ng mga unplanned pregnancy, (If we stop our programs on family planning, the rate of unplanned pregnancy will grow),” Preze explained.

“Mabu-burden pa rin uli ang ating health system ng biglang paglaki, (Sudden increase in population will further burden our health system),” he added.

The official also noted the possible emergence of diseases especially in urban poor areas due to congestion. For this reason, he suggested that barangay health workers should do regular monitoring.

“Katulad ng tuberculosis, HIV, mga RH related na diseases, ang mga sakit ng mga matatanda dahil nahihiya sila o natatakot lumabas ng bahay, iniinda na lang nila sa bahay ang sakit (Conditions like tuberculosis, HIV, other reproductive health-related diseases, disease associated with old age, patients are perhaps embarrassed of their condition or worried of going out so they just keep it to themselves),” Perez said.

The official said it is important that during this time, provinces must prepare and equip their health facilities and health care workers ahead of potential increase in cases of COVID-19 in their respective localities. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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