216M Filipinos in 2058 would need full RH law implementation starting now, says Neda chief
The Philippines’ population is likely to double to more than 216 million by the year 2058, making it important to fully implement the Reproductive Health Act to keep poverty reduction programs working, according to the country’s chief economist.
Sociaeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, in a speech at the World Population Day commemoration on Thursday (July 11), said population growth already slowed to 1.76 percent per year since the last census in 2015.
“Under this growth rate, our population, which is now 108.1 million, is expected to double in 39 years,” said Pernia, who heads the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
“As such, the country had already become the 13th most populous country in the world, while Filipinos now account for 1.4 percent of the global population, Pernia said.
He said the jump in use of contraceptives in recent years was good news for efforts to slow down population growth and fertility rates.
He said fertility rate was 6.9 percent in 1969 and fell to 4.1 percent in 1994. The average number of children per woman is now 2.7 and Pernia said the government’s target was just 2.1 children per woman.
“This will be feasible if we can ratchet up modern contraceptive use,” he said. He said contraceptive use, which the Church frowns upon, has gone up from 24.9 percent in 1993 to 40 percent in 2017.
“There are also now more rural than urban women who use modern family planning methods,” Pernia said.
He said the RH law—enacted in 2012 but got stuck at the Supreme Court—has become national priority after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 12. The delay in implementation of the RH law was blamed partly on a temporary restraining order issued by the high court under then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Duterte had publicly ranted against Sereno for the RH debacle in the Supreme Court, which was believed to be one of the issues that prompted Duterte’s officials to work on Sereno’s ouster.
The EO, Pernia said, was signed in 2017 “to speed up the law’s implementation to achieve and sustain zero ummet need for modern family planning by 2022.”
He said Duterte also approved last March an “intensified implementation” of the National Program on Population and Family Planning, Pernia added. /tsb
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