PH population growth slows down
Despite attempts by some sectors, including the Catholic Church, to prevent the full implementation of the reproductive health (RH) law passed in 2012, the country’s population growth slowed down by 0.2 percent, resulting in a drop of 1.2 million from the projected population increase by 2020, according to the Commission on Population and Development (Popcom).
“[This is] proof that our nationwide efforts on reproductive health, as well as family planning, are yielding positive results as they are steadily being embraced by Filipinos,” said Popcom executive director Juan Antonio Perez III.
Between 2010 and 2015, the country’s population growth declined to 1.52 percent from 1.73 percent, Perez said. By July 2020, the Philippine population is projected to be 108.7 million, a drop of 1.2 million from an earlier estimate, he said.
The biggest decline of 4 percent is seen in the 0-14 age group, from 34 percent in 2010 to 30.14 percent in 2020.
But the number of senior citizens (age 60 and above), is “growing at a faster rate than other age groups,” Perez said. By 2020, the elderly are seen to make up 8.8 percent, or 9.7 million, of the total population.
The Popcom official noted that 64 percent, or 70.3 million Filipinos, will still be of working age next year.
Despite the decline, much remains to be done since the Philippines continues to have one of the highest population growths in Southeast Asia.
World Bank data showed that neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia have a growth of 1.4 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.
“It would still take a comprehensive approach that links government efforts to nongovernment organizations and the private sector to [enable] population programs like family planning to reach every community in all 42,000 barangays nationwide,” Perez said.
The public should do their part in planning their families since “their decisions will affect our communities,” he added.
“There are still lingering issues that we all have to address as we usher in the new decade, among them the management of limited resources in the face of climate change, unrestrained internal migration leading to congestion in urban areas, as well as the disturbing rise of adolescent and teenage pregnancy nationwide,” Perez said.
The landmark Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 allows universal access to contraceptive methods, fertility control, sex education and maternal care.
But its full implementation has been stymied by objections from several sectors, among them the Catholic Church, which raised the constitutionality of the law before the Supreme Court.
Although the high court ruled in 2014 that the RH law is constitutional, it struck down eight provisions, including sanctions against public officials who refuse to support RH programs.
Another petition alleging that certain contraceptives are abortifacients prompted the Supreme Court to impose a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Department of Health in 2015, which “required the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to suspend its certification/recertification of all contraceptives” and “to revise all the relevant procedure and implementing rules and regulations” covering these products.
The TRO was lifted in November 2017 after the FDA said all 51 contraceptives it tested were “nonabortifacients.”
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