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(UPDATE) Phl population reaches 100 million

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - Population of the Philippines reached 100 million today, according to the country's population officials.

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

The country's family planning advocates have expressed concerns over the growing population, saying it does not complement with the country's economic growth.

Ben de Leon, president of the Forum for Family Planning and Development, said such a large population will put a strain on the country's limited resources.

"The government can no longer give them jobs. That's the reason why many are leaving the country," he said.

De Leon underscored the need for the government to focus on the poor which accounts for 26 million of the population.

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Meanwhile, the Philippine government vowed Saturday to beef up its interventions to help lift the poorest families out of poverty.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that majority of government programs are aimed at helping the poorest of the poor through conditional cash transfer program, and the universal healthcare, among others.

The Philippines is the 12th most populous country in the world.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), 10 percent of Filipino girls aged 15 to 19 have begun childbearing. People under the age of 25 make up 54 percent of the whole population.

Klaus Beck, country representative of UNPFA, said unmet need for reproductive health care, especially voluntary family planning, remains great in the Philippines.

Beck added that there is a need to respond to the rights and needs of young people by providing them with education, job opportunities, and life skills including appropriate information about their sexuality.

The UNFPA also said 49 percent of the country's population now live in cities, as more people from the rural areas look for better opportunities elsewhere.


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