The Philippines could see a sharp increase in the number of babies expected to be born next year due to lack of access to family planning services and contraceptive methods during community quarantines in most parts of the country, according to the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM).
POPCOM expects a 10 percent increase in unplanned pregnancies this year, which will contribute to 214,000 additional babies in 2021. This could result in the highest birth rate in the past 20 years.
Juan Antonio Perez III, executive director of POPCOM, said they forecast close to 2 million newborns next year.
Perez said their estimate was based on the projection of the UP Population Institute and the United Nations Population Fund. In an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo earlier in June, he explained that the regular number of births in the country was at 1.7 million like in previous years.
A fifth more than normal—nearly 3.6 million—of women aged between 15 and 49 years old have had an “unmet need for family planning” during community quarantine, he told the media.
“There will be at least one pregnancy for every three women with an unmet need for family planning,” Perez said.
In a separate report by the Guardian, Nandy Senoc, executive director of the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines said though quarantine measures have been eased, restrictions on various aspects of public facilities including transportation contribute to lack of family planning services.
Photo: PNA/Avito C. Dalan