The country’s population is projected to hit 91.8 million this year, a family planning advocate said yesterday, underscoring the need to immediately have a strong population management program.
Beth Angsioco, secretary-general of the Reproductive Health Alliance Network (RHAN), said the Philippines could withstand the global financial crisis not only by strengthening its economic front but by managing its population as well.
The National Statistics Office (NSO) has projected that there will be 91.8 million Filipinos this year, up from 90.8 million in 2008. “Population and economy go together. They cannot be separated. If you have bigger population, you’ll spend more for public services. So the global crisis expected this year and the continued increase in population make it more important for us to pass the Reproductive Health Bill,” Angsioco told The STAR.
A report posted at the NSO website showed that based on its Medium Series of 2000 Census projection, “Philippine population would continue to grow from 76.5 million.”
This means that some 65 million Filipinos would be born between 2000 and 2040 or in a span of 40 years, even if the average annual growth rate is projected to drastically decline from 2.34 percent during the 1990-2000 period to around one percent from 2030 to 2040.
“The population is projected to grow by 1.95 percent in the 2005-2010 period, from 85.3 million in 2005 to 94 million in 2010,” the report showed.
Angsioco noted that even if the government has been boasting that the country’s economy is strong to be gravely affected by the global economic crisis, “it cannot be denied that we are affected.”
For one, she claimed, many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have already been sent home and more might follow because of the economic crunch in their host-countries.
“So I think those who are opposing the bill should reconsider their stand now. This bill will benefit the future of our country,” she added.
Under the bill, contraceptives will be considered as “essential medicines” and the government would make these available to poor Filipinos, including right education on the use of contraceptives.
At present, President Arroyo does not allow the national government to buy contraceptives because of the influence of the Catholic Church, which has been opposing the measure. – Sheila Crisostomo, Philippine Star