Jakarta-wapresri.go.id Vice President Jusuf Kalla said, public awareness of family planning  has grown well since the program was initiated decades ago.

“We have been implementing the family planning policy since 1956 or 1957, since the family planning association was established. Meaning, our awareness of the need for family planning has started to grow and we run well for decades,” said Vice President Jusuf Kalla when opening the National Working Meeting of the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) at the Mercure Hotel in Ancol, Jakarta on Tuesday (Feb. 7).

The Vice President underscored the importance of recampaigning the family planning programs as Indonesia is a large country that in macro level should be well regulated.

“In early 1950’s, our population was about 100 million, but we already talked about family planning. Now, when our population is more than 250 million, it is certainly getting more important to enforce this family planning program,” he affirmed.

The Vice President then argued, in terms of territories, Indonesia now experiences a population imbalance. He then cited data, 60 percent of Indonesia’s population lived in Java island, while the rest stayed outside the island.

“If the population continues to grow like this, Java will surely become a big village,” the vice President alerted.

To prevent this, the Vice President expressed added, the country needs transmigration-like programs. However, he said, due to regional autonomy and limited land available, such a program is hard to run.

The Vice President then valued that the campaigns on family planning are now much better than in the past. In fact, he continued, people in large cities have a good understanding and awareness about family planning.

The Vice President also respected the big role of Muslim scholars in promoting the importance of family planning programs to public.

“Indonesia is considered as the country with the largest Muslim population whose scholars give a good understanding to society on family planning,” he said.

The Vice President added that the family planning in Indonesia is not implemented through coercion, but set out awareness growing.

“We do not apply it with coercive measures as in India where people are gathered then they are vasectomized. We do not have such rights. (What we do is) only raising the awareness (of the people),” he added.

On the occasion, the Vice President appreciates the success of family planning programs that can slow down the rate of population growth.

“In the past, our population growth was nearly 2 percent, while it is now only about 1.4 percent,” he said.

The Vice President also felt proud of the family planning program in Indonesia that has been “a champion” among developing countries and has no negative effect as that in Singapore, China, and Japan that used to implement a one-child policy.

“In Singapore, in the past, any person who gave birth more than one child was fined, but now whoever has more than one child will get a bonus. The same condition also applies in China and Japan. Eventually, the three countries now become aging countries, where the number of the elderly is larger than the young,” he argued.

The Vice President added that the success of family planning in Indonesia which limited families  to have only two children in the past had resulted in a demographic bonus 30 years later, as it is today.

The Vice President then hoped that family planning campaigns conducted with a variety of instruments, including social media.

“You can pass (information on family planning) through social media, (such as) facebook and other media. These instruments can also be used in regions,” he concluded.

Previously, on the same occasion, BKKBN chairman Surya Chandra Surapaty said, this national meeting is aimed at increasing synergy, commitment, and support from the central government, local authorities, and other parties in the management and implementation of the Programs for Population, Family Planning and Family Empowerment (KKBPK) to improve the quality of Indonesian people.

Also present in the meeting were Minister of Health Nila Moeloek, former BKKBN chairman known as the initiator of the family planning program Haryono Suyono, Head of the Secretariat of the Vice President Mohamad Oemar, Deputy to the Vice President for Policy Support on Human Development and Equity Development Bambang Widianto, Special Staff to the Vice President on Poverty Alleviation and Regional Autonomy Syahrul Udjud, and Special staff Vice President on Communications and Information Affairs Husain Abdullah.