DOH Sec. Ona says "We will champion reproductive health, support sex education," as RP population predicted to exceed 100M by 2015

"I call for the acceleration of efforts that shall champion reproductive health," Health Sec. Enrique Ona told Reproductive Health advocates at a World Population Day celebration on July 12, reports GMANews.tv, calling it "the clearest statement by the Aquino administration yet on reproductive health."

Ona said both government-funded artificial contraceptives and the church-endorsed natural family planning methods are included in their "cafeteria of choices." He said presenting a variety of options to couples is "the fairest way to do it."

Despite Church opposition, the Aquino administration will support sex education as well, according to Ona. The Health Secretary said, "To me, it’s how it’s presented, the way it is taught. It has to be taught in the context of our culture... I think we can sit down with the Church."

Catholic Church representatives have always been against the use of contraceptives, which they often equate with abortion, reports GMANews.tv. Under pressure from the dominant religion in the country, Former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo prohibited the Department of Health from buying and distributing artificial contraceptives during her administration. In contrast, President Noynoy Aquino is "supportive," according to Ona.

Growing at annual rate of two percent, the Philippines’ population may exceed 100 million by 2015, according to the National Statistics Office in a report by ABS-CBNNews.com. Based on this growth rate, NSO Deputy Administrator Paula Monina Collado estimates a population of 94 million in 2010.

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