Reproductive Health Bill Timeline, Part 4 of a Series

Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.
Part 3 is here.

1972 – The Model City Population Planning Project (MCPPP) begins in Cagayan de Oro.  Ford Foundation funds it for 2 years with one of the main goals to bring down the fertility rate through information on family planning, and to use its success as a model in beginning similar programs elsewhere in the country.51


1973 – Population Center Foundation (PCF) starts operations.  Its first mandate is to serve as a resource institution for the Philippine Population Program whose major concern is  “managing the growth of the country’s population through fertility reduction or family planning”.52 Presidential Decree No. 166 further strengthens the Family Planning Program, requiring the participation of private organizations and individuals in the formulation and implementation of population programs and policies.53 CBCP issues MORAL NORMS FOR CATHOLIC HOSPITALS AND CATHOLICS IN HEALTH SERVICES.54


1974 – National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200 – Kissinger Report is released in April in the US.  The document explicitly lays out a detailed strategy by which the United States would aggressively promote population control to reduce the birth rate in 13 targeted countries, and in doing so regulate and have better access to these countries’ natural resources, thereby protecting supplies to and economic interests of the US.  It recommends 1) a US global population strategy 2) actions to create conditions for fertility decline including assistance programs for the targeted countries and 3) working with international organizations like the UN and other multilateral population programs to achieve its goals.  It commits to a) research to improve fertility control technology b) developing low-cost delivery systems and c) utilization of mass media to educate, inform and motivate people to accept family planning schemes.55 Key organizations involved in formulating the policies of NSSM-200 include the United Nations Population Fund (now UNFPA), the United States Aid Agency for International Development (USAID), the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the Club of Rome, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, Population Council, Pathfinder Fund and the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.56  Presidential Decree No. 1202 reduces the number of paid maternity leaves to four. Presidential Decree No. 442 requires private companies to provide their female employees with family planning services.57 In the Philippines, where abortion is both illegal and explicitly against official population policy, the IPPF provides 200 “menstrual regulation” kits for demonstration purposes. IPPF affiliate FPOP organizes a series of controversial meetings, funded by IPPF, titled “Symposia on Advances in Fertility.”  The topics include medical and legal aspects of abortion, procedures and techniques of abortion, and the dangers and attendant health risks of abortion.  The first meeting touches off a storm of protest from religious and civic leaders, and leads the government to reaffirm its official opposition to abortion.  The FPOP continues its symposia, clearly aimed at legitimizing discussion of abortion in the Philippines.  FPOP distributes “menstrual regulation” kits to local doctors.  Although the government has laws specifically prohibiting the importation of abortive devices, these kits were brought into the country as “medical instruments” to obtain “sample tissue for examination.”  While aware that the vacuum aspirators are imported and are being distributed to private doctors, the government’s official body in this field, the Commission on Population, chooses not to take action. These examples show the potential of the IPPF and its collaborating organizations for circumventing national laws and policies, and also suggest that officials responsible for enforcing those policies may themselves not be totally opposed to their violation.58  Birth attendants (‘hilot’) are recruited and trained by the Institute of Maternal and Child Health to promote IUD acceptance in barrios (“motivation work”), as they are perceived to be people of influence within their community.59  First Lady Imelda Marcos delivers keynote address titled “The Moral Dimensions of Family Planning” at the First Asian Regional Conference on Family Planning.  She advocates for education through all avenues including government, the private sector, and religious organizations, citing that it is a moral consideration to pursue population control.60  Planned Parenthood Federation of America provides financial and material assistance through its Division of Family Planning to promote contraceptives in the Philippines and to combat Church opposition to it.  FPIA’s stated purpose: “To  provide assistance  to  church-related  and  other  private  service agencies  in the  developing  countries  to  enable  them to  promote and  expand  family  planning  programs.”  Iglesia ni Kristo sponsors a mobile clinic project funded by FPIA to recruit more than 70,000 family planning acceptors.61


1975 – Presidential Decree No. 34 exempts contraceptives and supplies necessary for the family planning program from payment of customs duties.  The orientation of the Population Program shifts because of the operationalization of the total integrated development approach that is piloted in provinces. The Department of Justice removes the requirements for prescriptions for oral contraceptives, thereby permitting widespread distribution of pills through nonclinical channels by trained field workers. 62  The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) is established on January 6, 1975 through Presidential Decree No. 633, as an advisory body to the President and the Cabinet on policies and programs for the advancement of women.  It is mandated “ to review, evaluate, and recommend measures, including priorities to ensure the full integration of women for economic, social and cultural development at national, regional and international levels, and to ensure further equality between women and men.” 63


1976 – Executive Order No. 123 attaches the Population Commission to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the population planning and coordinating agency.64  Presidential Decree No. 965 requires applicants for marriage licenses to receive instruction on family planning and responsible parenthood.65 The National Population and Family Planning Outreach Project is initiated.66 Letter of Instruction No. 433 authorizes provincial governors and city mayors to gradually assume the responsibility of funding the cost of all activities related to population and family planning and of projects agreed to by the POPCOM board and provincial officials for their respective jurisdictions.


1977 – The National Population and Family Planning Outreach Project begins implementation. Between 1977 and 1979, 30,000 volunteers are recruited to provide contraceptive supplies and referrals.67 Presidential Decree No. 1204 amends certain sections of PD 79, further strengthening the powers of the Commission on Population to carry out the purposes and objectives of the national family planning, health and welfare program.68


1978 – Letter of Instruction No. 661 creates the Special Committee to Review the Philippine Population Program in the context of the overall development goals of the country and to recommend policy and program directions for the future.69  Modern CPR is at 17%, up from 2.9% in 1968.70


1979 – CBCP releases the pastoral letter “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.71


1980 – Women’s Health Care Foundation (WHCF) is established.  Through the years, it receives funding from organizations like USAID and the Packard Foundation to further RH goals in the Philippines.72


1981 – Philippines ratifies CEDAW.73


1983 – Abortion report shows that 76% of abortees were using contraception at time of abortion and that MR centers were available in which to procure those abortions, despite the fact that abortions are illegal.74


1986 – Marcos flees the country after massive people power protests and military defections. Corazon Aquino becomes president. She issues Executive Order No. 123, attaching POPCOM to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the planning and coordinating agency for a 5-year plan to improve health, nutrition and family planning, with particular focus on maternal and child health, not on fertility reduction.75  During Aquino’s administration, the Philippines fertility rate continues to decline.76




51 Vigo, E. B. “Cagayan De Oro Taps Own Resources to Cope with Population Problem.” Initiatives in Population 4.2 (1978): 19-23. Web.

52 The Philippine Center for Population and Development. Web. 22 Aug. 2011. <>

53 “P.D. No. 166.” Philippine Laws and Jurisprudence Databank – The Lawphil Project. Web. 22 Aug. 2011. <>.


55 Kissinger, H.  “National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM 200) Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for US Securirty and Overseas Interests.” National Security Council, 1974 <>

56 Connelly 237-275  

57 Robinson 280

58 Warwick, D. P. “Foreign Aid for Abortion.” The Hastings Center Report 10.2 (1980): 30-37. Print.

59 “Hilots Make the Family Planning Scene.” Philippine Population Newsletter 4th ser. 2.10 (1974). Web. 

60 “The Moral Dimensions of Family Planning | The ProPinoy Project.” The Pro Pinoy Project. 30 Sept. 2010. Web. 23 Aug. 2011. <>.

61 “Family Planning International Assistance Program: Progress Report 1973/1974 and Work Plans 1974/1975.” Planned Parenthood Federation of America Division of Family Planning International Assistance, New York.  Web.

62 Robinson 280

63 “National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women.” Philippine Laws and Jurisprudence Databank – The Lawphil Project. Web. 23 Aug. 2011. 

64 “POPCOM :: About Us :: Agency Mandate.” POPCOM :: Welcome. Web. 23 Aug. 2011.

65 “P.D. No. 965.” Philippine Laws and Jurisprudence Databank – The Lawphil Project. Web. 23 Aug. 2011.

66 Bernales, E. H. “Integrating Family Planning with Other Social Services.” Population Forum 8.3 (1982): 11-15.

67 Robinson 280



70 Costello, Marilou P., and John B. Casterline. “FERTILITY DECLINE IN THE PHILIPPINES: CURRENT STATUS, FUTURE PROSPECTS.” United Nations Economic and Social Affairs Population Division. Web. 31 July 2011.

71 ““THOU SHALT NOT KILL”.”  A Joint Pastoral Letter of the Philippine Hierarchy On the Life of the Unborn Child.  Web. 23 Aug. 2011. <>.

72 “About WHCF.” Womens Health Care Foundation. Web. 23 Aug. 2011. <>.

73 CEDAW 2011 – Ratification Score Card. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Web. 15 July 2011.

74 Maranon, Amelia L. “Pattern of Abortion and Characteristics of Abortees from 1978 to 1980 in the Philippines.” DOST Sci-Net Phil. Web. 23 Aug. 2011. 

75 “Philippines Population Control and Management Policies.” Protection of Conscience Project. Web. 23 Aug. 2011. 

76 Costello, Marilou P., and John B. Casterline. “FERTILITY DECLINE IN THE PHILIPPINES: CURRENT STATUS, FUTURE PROSPECTS.” United Nations Economic and Social Affairs Population Division. Web. 31 July 2011.





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