UN population official to meet with Aquino this weekBy Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — A high-ranking official of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is flying to the Philippines this week for a series of “high-level” meetings with President Benigno Aquino III, other government officials and UN donor countries.
The UNFPA announced on Monday that executive director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin’s three-day visit has been aimed at mobilizing “greater support” for the country’s reproductive health programs in a bid to help the national government achieve its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets.
One of the country’s targets under the MDG is to improve maternal health by reducing maternal mortality and by providing universal access to reproductive health, especially among women. The country has three years more to meet its 2015 deadline, according to the UNFPA in its advisory.
Osotimehin is expected to arrive on May 17. A meeting with President Aquino in Malacañang is set the following day, followed by a press conference, according to the UNFPA. On the same day, the executive director will also meet with ambassadors and international aid agencies.
“The visit comes as the UNFPA marks its 40th year in the Philippines, providing assistance to government to enable Filipinos exercise their right to reproductive health,” said the UNFPA in a statement.
The Aquino administration has showed strong support for the reproductive health (RH) bill still pending in Congress. The passage of the controversial family planning measure has apparently been slowed down by opposition from the Catholic Church and various “pro-life” groups.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has staunchly opposed the bill, labeling some of its provisions — which included the free distribution of condoms and other artificial contraceptives to Filipino couples — as “anti-life.”
The UNFPA’s first country program of assistance to the Philippines began in 1972. Ending in 2016, it is now on its seventh cycle of assistance.
Tags: Babatunde Osotimehin , Benigno Aquino III , Birth Control , Global Nation , Millenium Development Goal , Philippine Government , Philippines , Population , population management , Presidency , reproductive health , United Nations Population Fund