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ECOP, DOLE, and POPCOM, supported by UNFPA, holds first-ever conference on family planning in the workplace

21 June 2018
A panel on family planning in the workplace offered new ideas and lessons learned. The panel included Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, Executive Director of POPCOM; Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla, Director of BWSC-Department of Labor and Employment; Mr. Roberto Valerio, Secretary General of ECOP ZAMBASULTA Chapter, and Ms. Flor Cabatingan, of TUCP.

MANILA, Philippines— The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Commission on Population (POPCOM), supported by UNFPA, the United Nations reproductive health and rights agency, launched the first-ever conference on the private sector’s role in supporting the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law.

The National Conference on Productivity and Family Planning highlighted the experience that companies have had in successfully implementing family planning programs in the workplace.

In partnership with the private sector, the conference brought together 200 participants from a wide variety of industries who shared their experiences and learned best practices from UNFPA’s Business Action for Family Planning Access (BAFP) project.

Launched in 2014, the Business Action for Family Planning Access (BAFP) project encourages private sector engagement in family planning either in the workplace, community-based or as a core business.

“The private sector is an important partner in expanding access to voluntary family planning, which is one of the most effective ways to stop the cycle of poverty for families and communities,” said UNFPA Country Representative Mr. Klaus Beck.


Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, Executive Director of the Commission on Population makes a pledge for family planning in the workplace. © UNFPA Philippines

 The project has been able to reach almost 1.4 million individuals through family planning sessions in the workplace and in communities.

“I want my two children to have a good education and a good life,” said Ms. Rowena Alberto, a garments factory worker at Hamlin Industrial Corp. in Cavite. Ms. Alberto, 40, has been using family planning services for 11 years, most recently through Hamlin’s family planning program which is in partnership with UNFPA.  

Since June 2015, UNFPA has mentored Hamlin’s programme managers and family planning trainers, and facilitated the adoption of the programme’s policies. UNFPA also supplies some of the program’s contraceptives. Participation in the programme is entirely voluntary.

“Life can be hard. People earn just enough to take care of their family. You cannot do that if you’re getting pregnant every year,” said Ms. Alberto.

In the Philippines, 49 per cent of unmarried, sexually active women and 17 per cent of married women have an unmet need for family planning, according to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey.


At a side event, UNFPA Country Representative Klaus Beck discusses UNFPA’s three transformative results, ambitions that promise to change the world for every man, woman and young person: Ending unmet need for family planning; Ending preventable maternal death; Ending gender-based violence and harmful practices. © UNFPA Philippines

The conference is a venue for companies to discuss ways to strengthen workplace family planning programmes for their employees and their spouses. This empowers employees to plan the timing and size of their families. It’s also good business: High employee turnover and significant absences due to unplanned pregnancies affect a firm’s business. 

ECOP, DOLE, POPCOM and UNFPA hope the conference will help provide further speed to a nascent movement on family planning in the workplace so that more companies join in helping their employees, themselves and the country in the process.

 

The conference featured a variety of speakers with Mr. Donald G. Dee, President of ECOP, giving the welcome remarks; Undersecretary of DOLE, Mr. Claro Arellano delivering the keynote speech; Mr. Klaus Beck, UNFPA Country Representative delivering an inspirational message; and Atty. Racquel Ros, Executive Officer, Division Manager Administration of IBIDEN Phils., sharing the company’s learnings in setting up UNFPA’s BAFP Program in the workplace.

 

A discussion on family planning in the workplace included: Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, Executive Director of POPCOM; Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla, Director of BWSC-Department of Labor and Employment; Mr. Roberto Valerio, Secretary General of ECOP ZAMBASULTA Chapter, and Ms. Flor Cabatingan, of TUCP.

 

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