Regional Director (RD) Agustin C. Mendoza of the NEDA Regional Office (NRO) in MIMAROPA served as resource person during the South Luzon Cluster Satellite Session: Financing for National Health Security and Pandemic Preparedness, as part of the 14th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week, held on August 3 through Zoom.

Mendoza discussed NEDA’s role and plans for Universal Health Care (UHC) and pandemic preparedness in MIMAROPA.
“Achieving UHC is a shared responsibility among local government units, national government agencies, civil society, and the private sector,” he said. “NEDA MIMAROPA shall continue the full implementation of the UHC Act in the region through coordination among stakeholders and development partners.”

On pandemic preparedness, Mendoza explained NEDA’s initiatives through formulation of plans and reports such as the We Recover As One report and the MIMAROPA Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan. He further explained the active participation of NRO MIMAROPA in various task forces to combat the effects of COVID-19 in the lives of Filipinos and in the economy.

Meanwhile, during the open forum, Mendoza addressed a question about the difference of fertility rate versus population growth rate and what the current rates tell about our country’s situation. He explained that fertility rate refers to the number of births per 1,000 woman of reproductive age while the population growth rate pertains to change in population level from one censal year to another censal year. The current fertility rate of 2.5 births gave a population growth rate of 1.35 percent between 2010 and 2020 population counts. “A 1.8 fertility rate will yield a flat population growth rate. But for a developing country like ours where infant mortality rates are still a concern, a 2.1 fertility rate will redound to a zero population growth rate,” he said.

The RD was one of the esteemed guest speakers of the satellite session conducted by the Metro Manila Health Research & Development Consortium Resource Mobilization Committee as part of the celebration. PNHRS week is celebrated every second week of August by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 1309 with the aim of promoting smoother exchange of health research and related information among concerned stakeholders.