Pangasinan town exec ‘unhappy’ over low population growth
DAGUPAN CITY—Despite posting the lowest average annual population growth rate in the Ilocos region, the population officer of Burgos, a fourth class town (with annual income of P25-P35 million) in western Pangasinan, is not happy about it.
She is wondering why the town’s population of 18,142 in 2000 only increased by 173 in 2010, as indicated by the National Statistics Office’s (NSO) Census of Population and Housing.
“We are really surprised,” said Pamela Valenzuela, municipal social welfare and development officer, who also functions as the town’s population officer.
Records from the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) in the Ilocos showed that the town posted an average annual population growth rate of 0.09 percent from 2000 to 2010, the lowest among 125 towns and cities in the region.
This was a sharp drop from the average population growth rate of 2.07 percent recorded from 1990 to 2000.
Valenzuela said while residents have been moving to other towns, many have also been settling in the town, such as retirees, who have returned home from abroad.
“Our civil registrar is also [surprised about the census result],” Valenzuela said, saying the office had recorded more births during the period.
She learned of the 2010 population tally of the town during her recent meeting with the town’s planning and development officer.
“Actually, our population decreased from more than 20,000 in 2007 to about 18,000 in 2010. And this is not good,” Valenzuela said.
Data posted on the NSO website shows that Burgos had a population of 20,187 in 2007 and 18,315 in 2010. Only four of its 14 villages indicated small increases in population.
The rest had lower population counts. The village of Cacayasen, for instance, had 1,311 in 2007 and 1,314 in 2010.
“The decrease [in population] is a disadvantage because it will also mean a lower internal revenue allotment (IRA) for our town,” Valenzuela said.
IRA is the annual share of local governments out of proceeds from national revenue taxes. The Department of Budget and Management said the IRA share of a town is computed based on its population, among others.
Valenzuela said the enumerators, during the survey, excluded from the family composition children who are working outside the town.
“What they asked was, ‘How many are you in this household?’ instead of ‘How many are you in the family,’” she said.
While the town government had been successful in its family planning campaign in the town, Valenzuela said she did not expect a decrease in population.
“This is unbelievable. I hope the NSO will do another survey in our town,” she said. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.