17 April 2008
Contact Person: Ms. VG Benosa
Mobile: 0918-2936786; Landlines: 931-5354; 931-5001 loc. 7430;
Experts say population still rapidly growing despite drop
“Hold your horses!”
A demographic expert says the drop in the population growth rate in the Philippines is nothing to be complacent about. “The 2.04 population growth rate (PGR) still means that the population is still growing rapidly” said Professor Josefina Cabigon of the UP Population Institute after the official population count was released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) yesterday.
The official result of the 2007 Census showed that the population has ballooned to 88.57 million but the population growth rate dropped a record low of 2.04%.
“Yes it was a major drop from the 2.34% PGR of the 2000 census but we have yet to reach a moderate growth in the PGR” Cabigon pointed out. “In fact, the Philippines still ranks as the third highest PGR in the South East Asian region, after only Timor Leste and Laos”. She added that other neighboring countries like Thailand and Indonesia reached the 2% PGR in the 1980’s considering that the two countries and the Philippines had the same PGR during the 1970’s. Both Thailand and Indonesia now enjoy a poverty incidence lower than that of the Philippines.
Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) concurred with Cabigon saying that the government should still continue efforts on population management. “If we look deeper into the NSO data, it shows that the highest population growth rates were recorded in poor areas. Included in the regions that have the highest PGRs are ARMM and Region 12. These areas have a high incidence of poverty as well. Government efforts to reduce population growth rate should therefore focus on how to assist especially the poor in planning their families” San Pascual stressed.
Rep. Edcel Lagman, Chairperson of the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, assured that there are already efforts to assist the poor in family planning. “Congress has allocated 2 billion pesos for reproductive health and family planning in the 2008 approved budget. These funds are to be sub-allotted to the LGUs in order for them to purchase modern natural and artificial family planning supplies for the poor and conduct awareness campaign in their constituencies”. Lagman however admitted that though there are funds for family planning, Congress still needs to pass a law on population and reproductive health. “The issue here is that the Philippines needs a comprehensive national population policy to ensure that government interventions aimed at slowing down population growth are consistent and sustainable.”
San Pascual added “In the end, despite the PGR drop, we should still look at as to why the country still grapples with related social problems such as intense migration, deepening hunger and lack of access to health services including family planning”.
Virginia F. Benosa
Media Relations Officer
Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc.
Cellphone Number 09182936786
Landline Nos. 921-1044/931-5354/931-5001 loc. 7430