NEDA: PH population to double in 4 decades | Malaya Business Insight

Reference:
Celis, A. & Icamina, P. (2019, July 12). NEDA: PH population to double in 4 decades. Malaya Business Insight. Retrieved July 12, 2019 from https://www.malaya.com.ph/business-news/news/neda-ph-population-double-4-decades

NEDA: PH population to double in 4 decades
BY ANGELA CELIS and PAUL ICAMINA – July 12, 2019

SOCIO-ECONOMIC Secretary Ernesto Pernia yesterday said the country’s population is projected to be double the current figure in less than four decades.

Pernia said Filipinos continue to increase in number, though the population growth rate has declined to 1.76 percent per annum since the 2015 population census.

“Under this growth rate, our population, which is now 108.1 million, is expected to double in 39 years,” Pernia said during the 2019 World Population Day forum yesterday.

“In the last 25 years, our global rank among most populated countries moved up a notch, from 14th to 13th. Filipinos made up 1.21 percent of the world’s population in 1994; this year, we make up 1.40 percent,” he added.

Pernia, however, noted that the Philippines’ total fertility rate has gone down over time, from 6.4 in 1969 to 4.1 in 1994, and now down to 2.7 children per woman of reproductive age in 2019.

“Our target fertility rate is 2.1 children. This will be feasible if we can ratchet up modern contraceptive use. This had gone up from 24.9 percent in 1993 to 40 percent in 2017,” Pernia said.

“Fortunately, there are now more users of modern contraceptives. There are also now more rural than urban women who use modern family planning methods,” he added.

Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) Undersecretary Juan A. Perez said the country’s fertility rate of 3 in 2013 has gone down to 2.7 in 2017.

Fertility rate is the number of children a woman will have in her lifetime, which essentially determines family size. The current figures mean that Filipino women have 2.7 children on average.

While the population in numbers is growing, the fertility rate is going down.

The targeted 2.1 fertility rate is intended to follow the trend set by Japan and South Korea, which achieved the same in the 1980s, and Thailand in the 1990s.

Perez said a lower fertility rate will improve dependency ratio, which means a smaller part of the population will be dependent on others. The ideal dependency ratio is one wage earner per one dependent.

“If it is achieved, a good carrying capacity will help household income expand and become stable, families invest more in, say, education or nutrition,” he said, adding: “Government will have more resources to invest in human development in contrast to putting up more maternity facilities, for example for DepEd to open more classrooms over time.”

The fertility rate was 4 in 1994, then 3 in 2013. “So potentially it will be down to 2.1, the goal for 2022,” Perez said, adding that a P10.4 billion budget, or P3 billion a year, has been allotted for the program from 2020-2022.

Perez said the Philippines has made significant changes since the commitment it made 25 years ago in the first International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, in terms of dealing with fertility rate, use of contraceptives and crafting policies, among other population-related issues.

The Philippines is one of the 179 countries which signed the Programme of Action in 1994 in Egypt for a reproductive health program, which includes voluntary family planning and safe pregnancy, women empowerment and gender equality.

A National Demographic Survey (NDS) showed that less than half of currently married Filipino women use modern methods of family planning, up to 40 percent in 2017 from 25 percent in 2013.

Pernia said government has set in place numerous population and reproduction-health policies, such as the Philippine Population Management Program under the PopCom and Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law in 2012.

He said President Duterte last March also approved the intensified implementation of the National Program on Population and Family Planning.

The Forum for Family Planning and Development (The Forum) complained there remains inadequate family planning awareness and services nearly seven years since the signing of the reproductive health law.

“Our population will continue to grow but our awareness and practice of the importance of education and empowerment to young people must also grow with it,” The Forum President Benjamin de Leon said.

“We are still faced with the continuing work to effectively guide adolescents and young people to acquire knowledge that that they can put into practice,” he added.

Proof of this, he said, is that data from the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in 2014 showed that 12 percent or 210,000 of all deliveries recorded in the country belong to girls aged 10-19 years old.

The Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFSS) 2013 also show that about 1 in 3 teenagers are already sexually active; but 73 percent of the boys and 84 percent of the girls do not use any form of contraception during their first sexual intercourse.

De Leon also related that in Southeast Asia, the Philippines has the third highest adolescent fertility rate at 57 births per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19, according to the Demographic Research and Development Foundation (DRDF) 2014.

“We can have a parade of numbers and data but the impact of all these on young women is that both the adolescent mother and her child will continue to live in poor health situations because teen girls and boys are unprepared and immature for parental responsibilities,” he said.

He urged communities to improve their public awareness programs promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, education and family planning, works with government and civil society partners in reducing the incidence of teenage pregnancies through the implementation and promotion of the comprehensive sexuality education and access to sexual and reproductive health services. – With Rod Lagusad and Gerard Naval

Category: National | Malaya Business Insight

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