Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order for his government to ensure that the estimated 6-million Filipino women who do not have access to contraceptives be allowed to have them for free.
Of the six million identified, said Philippine economic planning secretary Ernesto Pernia, two million are beneath the poverty line. Those two million will be the first to receive free coverage by 2018, with the others to soon follow. Pernia claimed that 11 Filipinos die every day as a result of complications from pregnancy. He hoped that extended access to contraceptives will lower this number, as well as the rate of teen pregnancy in the country. The Philippine Statistics authority reports that 10 percent of Filipino women aged 15-19 are either pregnant or have already given birth. It is the only Asia-Pacific country where the teen pregnancy rate has increased since the 1990s.
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