Monday, July 18, 2011

Indonesian Family Planning: Is It Feasible For the Philippines?

Male-Female Gender
"Family planning  Is a Moral Choice"
Walden Bello, a member of the PHL House of Representatives representing AKBAYAN (Citizens' Action Party) and is serving as a senior analyst in the Bangkok-based researched institute Focus on the Global South, has recently visited Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam to investigate family planning program in these countries.

He publicized his recent research on family planning program of Indonesia, which he is recommending an ideal program for the Philippines to adopt.

His research delineated the following factors or reasons attributable to the success of Indonesian family planning program:

1. National leadership. Indonesian leader, Suharto had a vision, had a high-level political will.

2. The population program became a mass movement. The villagers supported the program. Highly motivated field workers promoted the idea of "small, healthy, prosperous and happy family."

3. The program was integrated into income-support programs. The National Family Coordinating Board (BKKBN) provided incentives to the village women to limit births that they could avail of themselves of micro-credit with low interest rates.

4. An active government effort to recruit religious leaders to support the process. The Church in Indonesia supports family planning. Though, it does not endorse the use of contraceptives, it does not actively oppose it.

Problems are unavoidable with the religious sects like the minority Catholic community and the Muslim leaders. It was pointed out that the family planning leaders placed a special effort on constructive dialogue with the Catholic hierarchy.

According to Bello, the Indonesian Church has regarded family planning as a matter of moral choice by the individual, and this moral choice can only be exercised if is based on information. While the Indonesian Catholic hierarchy liberally approved the distribution of government family planning booklet, "Building a Prosperous and Responsible Family: the Catholic Perspective," an 11-page literature describing in detail the different methods of artificial contraception.

Bello wanted the Philippines to learn from Indonesia. Based on the success stories he just presented, he recommended the following:

1. A strong commitment from the Philipine national government and it  should be sustained over time.

2. The grassroots, community level must be organized to support the family planning, not be left to the government.

3. More generous benefits in health insurance, housing and other government programs to low-income families will be provided by the government as incentives.

4. Support from religious leadership, particularly the Catholic hierarchy to mobilize lay Catholic leaders as well as the priests who believe in the program to neutralize the opposition of the bishops.

Are the suggestions feasible for the PHL government to implement?


"To limit the number of children among parents is their moral agency to do it."


Yahoo News Philippines
OPINION: Indonesia: A Family Planning Model for the Philippines?

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