Baby boom goes on in the Philippines

Posted: 17 June 2004

With around four babies born every minute since the year 2000, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that the population of the Philippines will reach 84.2 million by the end of 2004. The last official count, by the National Statistics Office in 2000, was 76.5 million.

According to UNFPA, about a third of the population is earning insufficient to pay for food, housing, and other needs. These people are living on $1 a day, the World Bank definition of living in poverty. The report also noted that four out of 10 people are below the age of 21.

Tomas Osias, Director of the Philippine Population Commission, told Business World:

"These young people who have no access to education, food, and health services will have fewer skills and are less employable and productive when they reach working age."

In a statement, the Commission also said that for every 10 people in the working age group of 15-65 years old, six depended on them for food and other basic needs. And of these six dependents, usually five are children and one is elderly.

The Population Commission has been issuing warnings since 2000 that the higher than average rate of dependency has meant few household have savings, with most of household income having gone to pay for basic goods and services.

Mr. Osias said he believed that part of the solution to this was to make family planning information available and accessible to the poor.(But as long as the powerful Catholic Church maintains its opposition to most methods of contraception, that will be difficult).

Source: Business World reported in Push Journal, 2nd June,2004.

Related link: Church opposes family planning in the Philippines