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100 millionth Filipino due early Sunday

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 03:32 AM July 25, 2014

AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–By the reckoning of a population expert, the Philippine population will hit 100 million at 12:06 a.m. or thereabouts on Sunday. Be happy if your baby is born around that time because you will earn P5,000.

The P5,000 will be given  in kind—not in cash—and will include basic provisions for  babies, such as  cloth diapers.

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The prize will go to each of the 100 babies born in local government units (LGUs) nationwide to be chosen by the Commission on Population (Popcom).

The figure of 100 million was based on population projections by the Philippine Statistics Authority, which says three babies are born in the Philippines every minute.

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With this trend, the country’s population is expected to hit 100 million on July 27 at 12:06 a.m., according to Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, executive director of Popcom.

“Only babies born at 12:06 a.m. and beyond, meaning at 12:06 a.m. or seconds/minutes later, will be chosen to be part of the 100 symbolic babies because it’s the time projected when the 100-millionth baby will be born based on the mathematical analysis we conducted,” Perez said.

A blessing

Perez said the event would bring hope and challenges to the country as it struggles to give its people a better quality of life.

For Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, reaching the 100-million figure is actually good news and a blessing.

“It’s good for the economy … it’s good news, not bad news,” Castro said over Church-run Radio Veritas.

He said having more Filipinos would mean more human resources to advance the economy.

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“We need enough young population to sustain the economy. Because of a young population, we can actually be economically strong,” Castro said.

He said having such a big population should not be seen as a problem.

“Unfortunately, we have been brainwashed [to think] that a bigger population is equated with poverty, which is [not true],” Castro said.

He cited India as an example, saying it had already overtaken Japan as the third-largest economy in the world, with Japan already experiencing a “demographic winter,” or aging population.

Solving poverty

“India became the third-largest economy in the world precisely because of its robust, young population,” Castro said.

He urged the government to work on finding real solutions to poverty and use the high number of Filipinos to advantage, instead of looking at it as a problem.

“As long as you can provide them with the opportunity for education, for work, for employment, a young population can help make the country an economic powerhouse,” Castro said.

To celebrate the milestone, it will be choosing 100 babies in the LGUs nationwide, Popcom said.

“These babies will symbolically usher hope for a better quality of life as they epitomize the challenge to make every Filipino count in the country’s development,” Perez said in a phone interview.

“The LGUs will ensure that these  babies will have all the population development support and services they need—that they are able to go to school, they are healthy, they have livelihood opportunities,” he said.

“If they get all these, then it means the other people in that LGU are getting the same support and services. It means that the government is doing a good job,” he said.

Perez said Popcom had a set of criteria in choosing the 100 babies.

The major criteria are that the baby must be born at 12:06 a.m. or seconds/minutes later; must be born in a government-licensed health facility; the facility must be certified as observing the Philippine Standard Time; and the birth must be certified by the attending birth attendant/doctor.

Only babies born through normal, spontaneous delivery are qualified to vie for the recognition. The parents should also be a resident of the provinces in the region.

Populous countries

Countries with a population of 100 million or more are:

— Mexico – 122.3 million

— Japan – 127.1 million

— Russian Federation – 142.8 million

— Bangladesh – 156.6 million

— Nigeria – 173.6 million

— Pakistan – 182.1 million

— Brazil – 200.4 million

— Indonesia – 249.9 million

— United States of America – 320.1 million

— India – 1.252 billion

— China – 1.385 billion–With a report from Inquirer Research

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