Population and Development (PopDev)


Responsible Parenthood - Family Planning (RP-FP)


Adolescent Health and Development (AHD)

format panel ahyd 05062016

Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health

format panel rprh 05112016

New York City unveils new rules on gender discrimination


NEW YORK — Restaurant owners can’t require ties for male diners only. Gyms can’t tell clients which locker room to use. And in most cases, an employer can’t put “John” on a worker’s ID if she prefers “Jane.”

New York City’s Human Rights Commission is establishing what advocates called some of the most powerful guidelines nationwide on gender-identity discrimination, releasing specifics Monday to flesh out broad protections in a 2002 law.

“Today’s guidance makes it abundantly clear what the city considers to be discrimination,” which can lead to fines of up to $250,000, Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis said in a statement. Officials said complaints about gender-identity discrimination have risen in recent years but couldn’t immediately provide statistics.

Some cities around the country have added transgender people to anti-discrimination protections, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo did likewise for his state this fall. Other communities have rebuffed them: Houston voters this fall defeated an ordinance that would have established nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people.

“New York City vaults to the front of the line” with its new guidelines and strong legal framework for human rights complaints, said Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. “These are real, everyday struggles for transgender people.”


READ: Obama backs anti-discrimination gay rights bill

The guidelines apply to many businesses, landlords and employers. Public schools already have their own, somewhat similar rules. Some religious institutions and private clubs can be exempt.

Groups representing restaurateurs and landlords didn’t immediately respond to inquiries about the new provisions, nor did a major fitness-center chain.

An estimated 25,000 transgender or gender non-conforming people live in the city, officials said.

Besides overall bans on discrimination in housing and hiring, the new guidelines speak to such specifics as balking at using the personal pronoun of someone’s choice — “Ms.” or “Mr.,” for instance. Commission officials say they understand there can be honest mistakes, but repeating them, refusing to correct them or ridiculing the person can be a violation.

The rules also declare that transgender people can’t be denied access to the restroom or locker room where their gender identity belongs, at their discretion. Unisex, single-occupancy bathrooms are suggested but not required.

Objections from fellow patrons or employees “are not a lawful reason to deny access,” the guidelines say. Officials point to existing harassment and sex-crime laws to address any concerns about sexual predators gaining access to intimate settings, a concern raised during the Houston referendum, though its supporters called the problem minimal.


READ: Study reveals gay discrimination in sports

New York’s rules also address topics ranging from health coverage to employee dress codes. They needn’t be reduced to one unisex outfit, but a business can’t require dresses or makeup for women only, for instance, or bar only men from having long hair.

Federal courts have upheld gender-specific dress requirements in some cases, but the commission says that such differentiation “reinforces a culture of sex stereotypes” and that there’s legal room for the city to set its own guidelines.



Manila Bulletin receives award from PopCom


Butuan City – The Commission on Population (PopCom) has conferred a Certificate of Recognition to the Manila Bulletin for its support to the agency through coverage and publishing of stories relevant to the agency’s advocacies.

Mike U. Crismundo, Mindanao coordinator, received the Certificate of Recognition in behalf of the Manila Bulletin. The award was handed over Thursday night by Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez, PopCom executive director; and Regional Director Alexander A. Makinano of PopCom 13 during 2015 Year-End Assessment and 2016 Planning Workshop of PopCom and awarding ceremony at Luciana Convention Center here.

“Manila Bulletin is awarded this Certificate of Recognition for its continuing advocacy and partnership in reaching out to the masses, heralding the thrusts and directions of Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning, Adolescent Health and Youth Development, and Population and Development Programs,” the certificate read.


“Population programmes depend less on bricks and mortar than on the minds and hearts of men and women.”

-          Rafael M. Salas

The Commission on Population awarded seven local government units (LGUs) who excelled in population and development work. They were also recognized as 2014 Rafael M. Salas Population and Development Awardees (RMSPDA) last November 26, 2015 at Century Park Hotel Manila.

Saguday, Quirino, a 5th class municipality, bested 17 municipalities and regional RMSPDA finalists and was declared the 2014 RMSPDA.  San Jose de Buenavista, Antique came in 1st place and Maramag, Bukidnon was 2nd place.


Saguday, Quirino Mayor Marcelina Pagbilao shared that the RMSPDA served and is serving as a guiding compass on the work they are undertaking. She said that the award is a trophy of the people, a symbol of victory, and a symbol of their collective declaration and commitment for population and development.

For the city category, Butuan City bagged the top spot, followed by Koronadal and Iloilo City who tied for the 1st place and Santiago City for 2nd place.


The Commission on Population (POPCOM) launched the first National Adolescent Health and Youth Development (AHYD) Film Festival with the theme, “Ang pag-aaral ay para sa hinaharap, huwag ipagpalit sa sandaling sarap”.

The Festival kicked-off with a 3-day workshop on Basic Filmmaking on November 23-25, 2015 at Privato Hotel, Pasig City. It was attended by young filmmakers, 3rd and 4th year High School students from 17 regions in the country. These students, already Regional Winners, competed in the National Level for the following categories: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Poster and Best Film. 


The Workshop was followed by an Awarding Ceremony on November 26, 2015 at Century Park Hotel, Manila.

 Region IV-A’s Positive bested the films from 17 other regions and was awarded Best Film. Region III’s Kanlungan landed as 1st runner-up and Region X’s Orasan and Region IV-B’s Tanikala as 2nd runner-ups.


Philippine Population Survey Results out next month

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will release the results of the nationwide population survey in January, months after the original schedule last September.

The National Capital Region (NCR) surveys were delayed “due to the absence of responsible family members.”

PSA National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Lisa Grace Bersales admitted that in the survey data in Metro Manila, most household heads “were working and not available in their residences.”

By the end of November, surveys in Metro Manila were 80 percent done.

“The target is to come out with the full report in January, including population counts, by barangays,” Bersales said.

The PSA is primarily responsible for the nationwide conduct of the 2015 Census of Population (POPCEN 2015), pursuant to Republic Act 10625 or Philippine Statistical Act of 2013.

The mid-decade census aims to update the population count in all barangays nationwide, in compliance with Executive Order 352 or The Designation of Statistical Activities that will Generate Critical Data for Decision-Making of the Government and the Private Sector.

Previous to POPCEN 2015, mid-decade censuses were carried out in 1995 and 2007.

The 2015 census, a complete enumeration of households in the country, is designed to inventory the country’s population – by province, city, municipality and barangay.

The census will provide government executives, policy and decision makers, and planners with updated population counts of all 42,028 barangays in the country, on which they will base their social and economic development plans, policies, and programs.

Data will also be used for research and academic institutions in the conduct of studying population and related disciplines and study of population growth and geographic distribution as bases in preparing population projections at the national and sub-national levels, the PSA said.

Business and industry will likewise use the census data for identification of sites for establishing businesses, determination of consumer demands for various goods and services, and improvement of supply of labor for the production of goods and services.

In the 2010, the country’s population reached 92.34 million compared to the 76.51 million in 2000. The average annual growth rate from 2000 to 2010 was 1.9 percent against the 2.34-percent rate from 1990 to 2000.

Among the 17 regions, Calabarzon  (Region 4A) had the largest population with 12.61 million, followed by NCR with 11.86 million, and Central Luzon (Region 3) with 10.14 million. By province, Cavite had the largest population with 3.09 million, followed by Bulacan with 2.92 million and Pangasinan, 2.78 million

Six other provinces surpassed the two-million mark: Laguna (2.67 million); Cebu, excluding Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City (2.62 million); Rizal (2.48 million), Negros Occidental, excluding Bacolod City (2.4 million); Batangas (2.38 million); and Pampanga, excluding Angeles City, (2.01 million).

Of the 22 highly urbanized cities, four surpassed the one-million mark.These are Quezon City with 2.76 million; Manila, 1.6 million; Caloocan City, 1.49 million, and Davao City, 1.45 million. The POPCEN 2015 is the 14th census to be taken in the country since 1903.

- Ted Torres

Gov’t support, right to privacy urged for cases of HIV-AIDS


SENATOR Grace Poe, in a statement yesterday marking today’s observance of World AIDS Day, said she is looking into having the government subsidize clinical testing for people stricken with HIV-AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus-acquired immune deficiency syndrome) as well as expand the assistance by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) for persons afflicted with the disease.

“We have to foster an environment where the sick can receive the necessary care without being judged,” Ms. Poe said in her statement, as she also noted the stigma on people with AIDS and the lack of confidentiality in testing centers in the country.

“It requires courage to have yourself checked. Our health workers have to make sure that a patient’s right to privacy is protected to encourage people with HIV or those at risk for HIV to get tested and pursue medical treatment,” she said.

PhilHealth currently offers each member an annual treatment package of P30,000, a sum released quarterly and covering medicines and laboratory examinations.

Sought for comment, Health Secretary Janette L. Garin said in a text message that HIV testing is a free service in government hospitals and clinics.

“Our bigger problem is how to convince many to know their status and submit for confidential testing. The current thrust is to shift awareness to schools where we can intercept possible patients at the earliest possible time,” Ms. Garin said.

Ms. Poe also said the government should study creating an office in line with the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998, which ensures and protects the rights and welfare of people afflicted with HIV-AIDS.

“There have been many violations to patients’ rights but no case has reached the courts. Perhaps, we should study creating an office that shall assist and handle HIV-related acts of discrimination,” she said, as she cited data by the Department of Health (DoH) showing a considerable 23,879 cases in the Philippines since 2010.

This year alone, 22 new cases of HIV are reported daily, according to the DoH. The highest number of cases in a single month was 772 in June.

From 1984 to September 2015, 1,309 deaths have also been recorded.

- Alden M. Monzon

HIV cases rising, their faces getting younger


DAVAO CITY—Gary (not his real name) looks up from his bed inside an isolation room of Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), an expression of deep anguish on his emaciated face.

“This is hell,” he said, as he looks out to the seething afternoon light through the glass windows. “The heat is killing me, I can’t stand it.”

The air-conditioning system in the room had long ago stopped working, and Gary was lying shirtless in bed, the ribs of his bony body rising and falling as he breathes. But the heat is just the least of his concerns.

Gary and five others in the room are suffering from the advancing stage of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), the disease that brings down the body’s immune system, robbing it of its capacity to fight back. The room houses AIDS patients with highly communicable diseases; which means that Gary and the other patients are receiving treatment to stave off a host of opportunistic infections taking advantage of their weakening bodies.

Looking gaunt, their skeletal frame haunch in their beds, they are suffering from tuberculosis, pneumonia and swollen lymph nodes, making it so painful for them to eat.

Since 1993, when the first case of HIV was diagnosed in Davao City, the Department of Health (DOH) has already monitored 1,294 cases of HIV-positive patients in the region as of July this year, 124 of which developed into full-blown AIDS cases.


Rising incidence

Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, city health officer, said the number of people diagnosed with HIV had been rising through the years and their faces were becoming younger.

Compared to seven years ago, when the DOH used to monitor only one newly diagnosed HIV-positive in the country a day, the number this time swelled to nine in 2012, 17 in 2014, and 22 in 2015.

Although 39 percent or 270 of the HIV-positive cases registered in September this year are in Metro Manila, the 38 cases in the Davao region make up 5 percent of the country’s newly registered HIV cases, making it among the top five regions with the highest incidence of HIV.

The DOH reported a total of 80 people with AIDS who died in Davao region as of September.

In the region, a total of six new cases monitored in July this year are youths from 15-24 years old, bringing to 71 the total number of HIV-positive diagnosed within this age bracket in the first seven months of the year alone.

Since 1993, cases of youths found positive with HIV in the 15-23 age grouping have reached 519 or 40 percent of the total in Davao City. Those in the 24-34 age grouping registered 599, or 45.74 percent of the total.


Sexually active

The two age brackets are still considered sexually active, Villafuerte said.

Cases among 35-49 years old were down to 152, with only two cases registered in July; and 23 cases in the first seven months of the year, and almost nil from 50 years and up.

Dr. Jing Ramiterre, chief of the CHO reproductive health and wellness center here, said the rising number of new HIV-positive diagnosed per day could mean that the government’s effort to increase people’s awareness of the risks associated with HIV must have yielded results as more people felt the need to have themselves tested and checked for the virus.

But she said the increase in risky behaviors among key population, including unprotected sex among the young while engaging in casual, multiple or frequent change of partners, could have also contributed to the increase in HIV incidence.


Online access

She also cited economic reasons among the factors that contributed to the rise in HIV cases in the region, as well as such factors as peer influence, and the social media, which make it possible to use the web to access potential partners.

Villafuerte said the young must be doing this without knowing the risks involved.

A health worker who refused to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter, said he came upon the case of Junjun (not his real name) who, having been addicted to playing Dota, had agreed to have sex with a gay man in exchange of P20 for him to pay the Internet café fee.

Ramiterre said transactional sex debut, contributed much to the increased vulnerability of the young to HIV. “Most infections are transmitted through sex pa rin (as usual),” she said.


National figures

In the whole country, 213 cases or 31 percent of the total HIV cases monitored in September are youth within the age of 15-24 years; 95 percent of these cases were male.

The DOH reported that 99 percent or 211 cases in September were infected through sexual contact; and a large number of the total cases involved male-to-male sex partners.

From January 1984 to September 2015, a total of 7,536 or 27 percent of the reported cases were 15-24 years old. Ninety percent or 6,811 cases of all the youth were reported in the last five years.

The DOH noted a steep increase in cases among youth in 2008, when the 111 total number of cases was 171 percent higher than that in 2007.

From 1984 to 2002, more than half of the cases or 71 per cent among the youth were females, but in 2003, an equal number of males and females were reported. Since then, the trend reversed to male predominance.

Ninety-four percent or 7,107 of the cases reported nationwide were infected through sexual contact; of which, 947 were infected through male-female sex, 3,829 through male-male sex, 2,331 through sex with both males and females; and 369 were infected through sharing of infected needles.



Of the 1,294 cases diagnosed in the Davao region, 1,170 or 90 percent remains asymptomatic, or are not yet exhibiting any symptom.

While antiretroviral therapy (ART) is already available for free at SPMC to extend the healthy life of patients diagnosed with HIV, most of those found in the advanced stage of HIV infection, like Gary, have not been aware they have been carrying the virus until it is already too late.

That is why, Villafuerte said, the government has been campaigning for increased awareness of the risks associated with HIV, to encourage more people to be tested.

The DOH reported a total of 60 people with AIDS who died in the Davao region as of July this year.

Cases of HIV infection are lower among the ages of 35-49 years old at only 152; with only two cases registered in July this year bringing to 23 the total number of cases in the first seven months of the year.

But the good news about early detection is the availability of ART to allow people living with HIV to extend their life on earth. Villafuerte said the youngest of those diagnosed with HIV in the region is a 13-year-old who got the infection from his mother. Thanks to ART, the child is living a normal life, just like other children.


- Germelina Lacorte

Location Map

POPCOM Activities

Population Clock

Base from the 2015 CENSUS of Population: 100,981,437

Basis: 2015 PGR of 1.72

Connect With Us

fb twitter instagram