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RH Bill

World Bank says RP population to top 100 M in 2015

April 23, 2009 4:15pm
MANILA, Philippines - The World Bank has predicted that the Philippines will have the highest population growth rate in the Southeast Asian region.

In the World Development Indicators 2009, the Washington-based lender said the Philippine population will balloon to an estimated 101 million in 2015, about a 15-percent increase from the 87.9-million Filipinos in 2007. Presently, the Philippines is among the world's top 20 most populous countries in the world.

In comparison, Indonesia's population, which is the biggest in the region, is seen to hit 245.1-million, a mere 8.6-percent jump from the 2007 number of 225.6-million residents.

Other countries in the region will have also have lower growth rate.

Malaysia will be have the second-fastest growth rate next to the Philippines, with 13.21 percent. Its population is seen to grow to 30 million in 2015 from 26.5 million two years ago.

Vietnam will come in third with a projected 10.44-percent growth rate as its population is estimated to reach 94.1 million in 2015 from 85.2 million in 2007.

Thailand's population growth rate, on the other hand, will be the slowest among middle-income countries in the region, registering a 4.39-percent climb to 66.6 million in 2015 from 63.8 million in 2007.

The World Bank said the population figures were based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship—except for refugees not permanently settled in the country of asylum, who are generally considered part of the population of their country of origin.

These values, the Washington-based lender clarified, are midyear estimates for 1990 and 2007 and projections for 2015. The bank also added that the data on average annual population growth is the exponential change for the period indicated.

The Arroyo administration has no clear cut policy on the country's direction regarding population control.

But government officials insisted that there is no policy which discourages Filipinos to use contraceptives.

“There is nothing illegal about the use of contraceptives. We are not banning contraceptives, except that it is best addressed by local government units. Because they know their constituencies. So therefore, if there is any donation for distribution of condoms, we’d like to see the local government units take on that role rather than a national policy," said Rolando G. Tungpalan, deputy director general of National Economic and Development Authority.

He added that health issues are foremost on the mind of the government, rather than trying to control population growth.

“We look more at the health issues rather than population growth rate and the approach we’d taken almost was a free choice or an informed choice," Tungpalan said.

Economists, however, are openly supporting legislation measures, seeking to promote wise population management.

Twenty seven economists from the University of the Philippines had signed a position paper, supporting the House Bill No. 16 or the Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development (RH Bill).

The paper stated that poor families are especially burdened when they end up with more children than they desire.

The 2003 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) indicated that poverty incidence in families with nine or more children is pegged at 57 percent while families with only one child has a poverty incidence of only 10 percent.

The authors also said that larger families make less investments per child, decreasing the chances of breaking the chain of intergenerational poverty.

In the 2003 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES), the average annual spending per student fell to P682 for a family with nine or more children from P5,558 for a family with one child. GMANews.TV