By Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star – The country’s population is projected to increase from 95.8 million to 97.6 million this year, the government said yesterday.
In a telephone interview, Commission on Population (PopCom) executive director Tomas Osias, citing data from the National Statistics Coordinating Board, said the adjustment will be brought about by the 1.7 million Filipino babies born annually.
“And by 2014, the population may increase to 101.2 million,” he said.
However, Osias said the outlook for the country’s population this year is “good,” considering the “clear policy directions” of President Aquino on responsible parenthood and family planning programs.
“If the Reproductive Health bill will be passed this new year, it will be much better because information and services on family planning and responsible parenthood will be integrated in the system,” he said.
During the nine-year Arroyo administration, the national government did not buy contraceptives for family planning programs.
Families wanting free contraceptives then relied on foreign donations and on local government leaders that procured artificial methods of birth control.
In a previous interview, Osias said the country’s economic growth could be felt more if it will be accompanied by population management.
The country’s total fertility rate (TFR) is now pegged at 3.2 and this means that couples normally have three to four children although their desired number of offspring is only two.
Osias is hopeful that before the end of the Aquino administration, the TFR may go down to 2.2, equivalent to one or two babies.
Despite this, the impact of this improvement will not immediately be felt during the remaining five years of the Aquino administration because the “base population” is still high.
The 1.7 million new babies born every year constitute a population growth rate (PGR) of 2.04 and if Aquino’s policies will be sustained for long, the PGR will improve by 1.5 to 1.9, Osias said.
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