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MANILA – Philippine government officials and civil society leaders led by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia expressed strong support for the Statement of the Nairobi Summit, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25), in accordance to Philippine laws.

Secretary Pernia, who is also the Chair of the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM), vowed to fulfill the promise on the ICPD that had been expressed in 1994 in Cairo, Egypt through the Philippine commitment in the Sustainable Development Agenda of 2030.

POPCOM Exec Dir Juan Antonio Perez III, UNFPA Deputy Exec Dir Laura Londen, Socioeconomic Planning Sec Ernesto Pernia, the Forum for Family Planning and Development’s President Benjamin De Leon

“The ICPD principles have been our legal framework—our north star—in the pursuit of our population and family planning program objectives. This has been supported by the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law, further bolstered by the President’s Executive Order No. 12 on Zero Unmet Need for Modern Family Planning,” Secretary Pernia stressed.

“We want to ensure every pregnancy and birth are wanted, and that every Filipino is able to contribute productively to national development,” he added.

Meanwhile, at a press conference on November 13 during ICPD25, POPCOM held the global launch of the book A Millennial Man for Others: The Life and Times of Rafael M. Salas, a biography of the first executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), who is also known as “Mr. Population.”

According to Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, MD, MPH, POPCOM executive director, Salas epitomized the role of the international civil servant: “He built into the [UNFPA] the ability to bring countries together on issues of population and development. Such ability is sorely missed today, but his example shines like a bright light for all humanity.”

For his part, Secretary Pernia said, “The legacy of Dr. Salas should always remain not just in the consciousness of today’s leaders around the world, but especially also of the young and up-and-coming leaders who will shape the future of our society.

“His early life and works leading towards being the first head of the UNFPA is a very inspiring story, especially for our Filipino youth,” the NEDA chief added.

UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Laura Londen, the Forum for Family Planning and Development’s President Benjamin de Leon representing Congressman Edcel Lagman and about 40 Filipinos joined Secretary Pernia and Undersecretary Perez in the summit.