Adolescents in NCR want RH law: survey

By Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Dec 04 2012 05:21 PM | Updated as of Dec 05 2012 01:57 AM

Ret. Archbishop Cruz asks: Who paid for the survey?

MANILA, Philippines - A recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) shows that 83% of adolescents in the National Capital Region (NCR) want a law on family planning and reproductive health, which they believe would counter problems brought about by population growth.

In a press conference on Tuesday, SWS President Mahar Mangahas said the survey, done from October 26 to 28 among 600 respondents between ages 15 and 19 shows, that the Reproductive Health (RH) bill is a major issue for them. Only 8% of those surveyed are not in favor of a law.

The survey, commissioned by The Forum for Family Planning and Development, also shows that 64% of the respondents are in favor of the current measure being pushed in Congress, while 19% disagree. Seventeen percent are undecided.

Of the 600 surveyed, 97% belong to classes D and E and 90% are either not working or looking for work.

Still, only 32% rate themselves as poor, while 22% are “on the line." Those who rate themselves as “not poor” are 46%.

Population growth problem

The opinion survey also shows that 79% of the respondents feel there is a population growth problem in the Philippines, and 81% feel that the population has a direct effect on poverty incidence.

Those who believe that students aged 15 to 24 should be given adolescent health education in school account for 85%. Only 6% disagree, while 8% are undecided.

A total of 84% of respondents believe that parents should freely talk to them about gender and sexuality. Nine percent do not agree.

They believe that parents should be educated on adolescent reproductive health vis-à-vis HIV-AIDS (87%) and that parents should also talk to them about the use of condoms to combat HIV-AIDS (74%).

The same survey also shows that 56% of the 600 respondents feel that the church interferes in the affairs of the government especially on issues of reproductive health and family planning. At least 20% disagreed with their colleagues.

Cruz: Who paid for the survey?

Asked for comment, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz shrugged off the news.

"Frankly, if a survey was really made, the result thereof depends on two factors: who did the survey and who paid for the survey," he said in a statement.

Forum for Family Planning and Development President Benjamin de Leon said they commissioned the survey because “we want to know what our successor generation feels about the RH Bill since the issue of adolescent reproductive health is often at the heart of the debates in the Senate and the House of Representatives.”

Interestingly, the survey also showed that 43% of the respondents feel that the use of condoms, IUDs and pills can be considered as abortion tools; 34% believe the contrary, while 22% are undecided.

Mangahas said this represents “misinformation” being provided to the adolescents by a slew of factors, including the media and the church.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a pro-RH bill advocate, said: “I can’t understand why despite the surveys, there are recalcitrants in Congress [and outside] who insist on opposing the RH bill.”

He said this latest survey confirms previous ones showing more Filipinos are in favor of the measure.

64%  RH won't matter in Senate choice

Lagman wondered why some lawmakers in the House of Representatives oppose the bill when their constituents are calling for its passage. “The congressmen know their constituents are pro-RH.”

He said the lawmakers should “respect” the wishes and decisions of their constituents.

The survey shows also that 29% of respondents, specifically those already of voting age, will vote for senatorial candidates who are pro-RH, while 6% will not.

A majority 64%, however, said the RH bill will not matter when they vote for the senatorial candidates.

Almost the same can be gleaned from the respondents in connection with their voting preferences for district representatives.

Of the 600 surveyed, however, only 25% are of voting age or a total of 150 respondents in NCR. Only 14% are registered voters.

De Leon believes it is important to see the youth’s consideration for voting their candidates. “This survey shows that our legislators have nothing to fear about the idle threats of the Catholic church," he said.