By Chino Leyco
The Philippine population may double in nearly four-decades without proper intervention by the government in managing the growing number Filipinos, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Thursday.
Based on a NEDA study, the number of Filipinos currently at 108.1 million may double to 216.2 million by 2058 if the government would not intervene in controlling the present 1.76 percent growth pace of the country’s population.
While the population has already showed some slowdown since 2015, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia still noted the Philippines’ global ranking remained among the highest at 13th place.
“In the last 25 years, our global rank among most populated countries moved up a notch, from 14th to 13th. Filipinos made up 1.21 percent of the world’s population in 1994; this year, we make up 1.40 percent,” Pernia said.
“Under this growth rate, our population, which is now 108.1 million, is expected to double in 39 years,” he added.
The Philippines has a current total fertility rate of 2.7 percent, way below than 6.4 percent in 1969 and 4.1 percent in 1994. But Pernia said this level is still above the government’s target of only 2.1 percent.
According to the NEDA chief, the decline in fertility rate is attributable to growing acceptance of contraceptive.
In 2017, the use of contraception went up to 40 percent from only 24.9 percent in 1993.
For this reason, Pernia believes achieving the ideal population growth is feasible “if we can ratchet up modern contraceptive use.”
“Fortunately, there are now more users of modern contraceptives. There are also now more rural than urban women who use modern family planning methods,” the Cabinet official said.
On the government policy side, Pernia assured they have set in place programs aimed at better managing the country’s population.
For instance, Pernia said the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) was passed into law in 2012, but its implementation got stuck for a long time.
In terms of health, Pernia said the government recently enacted the Universal Health Care Law, which automatically enrolls all citizens into the national health insurance program.
On education, he said the government continues to institutionalize reforms through the K to12 policy and the provision of free tuition to tertiary students of state universities and colleges, with special subsidy for poor and deserving students.