MANILA, Philippines – A recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that 86 percent of Manila residents support a law on reproductive health (RH).
The SWS survey, conducted from Dec. 27 to 29, also revealed that 88 percent of the 600 respondents agree that Manila should have a policy on RH, while 95 percent say that the city health centers should further improve their services.
Ninety-three percent of respondents say the government needs more nurses, doctors, and midwives.
The survey results were presented by the SWS during a forum in Quezon City organized by The Forum for Family Planning and Development (The Forum).
The study, entitled “SWS December 2008 Special Omnibus Survey on General Health in Manila (MLA 12-08),” used face-to-face interviews of 600 men and women from the six districts of Manila.
Each district’s sample had 50 men of age 15-54 and 50 women of age 15-49.
The poll also showed that 62 percent, or six out of 10 respondents, think the religious sector involves itself in government efforts on family planning and reproductive health.
“We do hope that with this latest survey result, our respective legislators in the House of Representatives won’t have any qualms on passing the Reproductive Health bill which would benefit the majority of Filipinos especially couples. The survey is echoing the voice of the true constituency of Congress,” The Forum president Benjamin de Leon said.
De Leon said a majority of respondents agree that there should be a law that requires government to distribute legal contraceptives like condoms, IUDs, and pills to people who want to avail of them as well as free supplies or services to the poor who wish to use any modern method.
De Leon said the reason for this is because they believe that limiting the number of children or spacing of birth by three or more years is good for the health of both mother and children.
The survey also revealed that 92 percent agree that students aged 15 to 24 should be given adolescent health education.
He said the revised modules, which include teaching notes on pre-marital sex, commercial sex, abortion, homosexuality and high-risk sexual practices are geared to inform the youth on the long-term health and social consequences of sexual risk-taking.
However, the new textbooks emphasize sexual abstinence among adolescents, and ask teachers to lead discussions on the advantages of delaying sexual activities during adolescence.
De Leon said data from the Department of Health Field Health Service Information System showed that in Quezon City the number of live births and maternal deaths in the city have decreased due to the implementation of the Reproductive Health Ordinance.
De Leon said Quezon City was the first city in Metro Manila to have a Reproductive Health Ordinance.
“I hope that the Representatives of Manila in Congress will take a cue from this survey since a number of congressmen from Manila are not supportive of the RH Bill pending in Congress.” De Leon said.
The SWS survey has error margins of plus or minus four percent at the city level and plus or minus 10 percent at the district level.- Helen Flores, Philippine Star