There is a significant drop in the number of births in 2020, with just 1,516,042 million registered in the country – the lowest number registered since 1986, when only 1,493,995 Filipinos were born in a year, according to a June 2021 report of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
As compared to the 1.675 million recorded live births in 2019, there is a 9.43 percent drop in live births or 157,881 babies born in 2020.
The PSA report also shows that the Cordillera ranks last nationwide in the number of births in 2020. Data shows that CAR recorded a total of 26,142 live births from January 2020 to May 2021.
This can be linked to the nine percent increase in family planning users in CAR, from 120,794 in 2019 to 131,989 in 2020, who have availed of services in health facilities despite restrictions on mobility.
Popcom-CAR Director Magdalena G. Abellera added contributory to the decrease is the intensified implementation of the program on family planning in 2019, where project staff were hired in the campaign to create greater awareness on family planning.
She said there has been good partnership between Popcom and the Department of Health in the management of family planning in intensifying demand generation, media advocacy, warehousing and deliveries of family planning commodities and others. Such efforts were also supported by Department of the Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular 2019-100 on the designation of local population officers, volunteers and workers to intensify the implementation of the national program on population and family planning.
She also acknowledged the unwavering support of local government units, the Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning-Regional Implementing Team, National Economic Development Authority, Family Planning Program of the Philippines, and civil society organizations.
Undersecretary for Population and Development Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III attributes the decline in the 2020 birth rate to the combined effects of fewer marriages, women who postponed pregnancies during the pandemic, and the increase in women using modern family planning methods to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
“What we feared at the onset of the pandemic did not happen,” Perez, also the Popcom’s executive director, said. “From the PSA numbers, it is clear that Filipino women are deciding to delay having children and families are deferring, or avoiding having more kids, as they were made well-aware of the possible hardships and inconveniences in securing medical, and family planning services, since the pandemic has severely impeded health-care systems.”
Despite also being heavily compromised due to ensuing travel restrictions and limited local health-care capacities, Perez is also pleased with the outcome of family planning services in the country in 2020, with the addition of 400,000 users nationwide, which brought the total to more than eight million protected Filipino men, women and couples.
Concerted efforts by the national government to support local family planning services, related organizations, and stakeholders from the public and private sectors have heightened Filipinos’ awareness and interest in the potential risks of pregnancy and childbirth during the health crisis. – Press release