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PopCom fears baby boom after lockdowns
PopCom executive director Juan Antonio Perez III said there might be a spike in the number of Filipino babies born at the end of the community quarantines.
Edd Gumban, file

PopCom fears baby boom after lockdowns

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - January 6, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Population (PopCom) has expressed fear that a baby boom would happen when the pandemic is over.

PopCom executive director Juan Antonio Perez III said there might be a spike in the number of Filipino babies born at the end of the community quarantines.

In an interview with OneNews’ “The Chiefs” aired on Cignal TV, Perez said a baby boom happened in the 1960s or after World War II.

“We had a baby boom during the post-war era. That’s when we had an average family size of six children. That’s in the 60’s. That’s the baby boomer Philippine style,” Perez said.

He expressed hope this would not happen.

“If it does, we hope we will be strong enough to provide them necessary protection that people might want for unplanned pregnancy.”

He said the pandemic should jumpstart couples’ initiative to plan their family size.

PopCom is expecting to see the rise in childbirths during the first six to nine months of this year.

Citing projection of the Philippine Statistics Authority, Perez said the country’s population is expected to reach 110.8 million this year from 109.4 million in 2020.

The figure does not include some 250,000 babies that were conceived during the community quarantine.

Perez said because of the lockdowns, there has been a decline in the number of women going to health centers to get their family planning supplies.

At the same time, there has been a “downturn in the health-seeking behavior of pregnant women” as they are hesitant to go to health centers.

This has resulted in the increase in maternal mortality in Cebu, Manila and Quezon City, which are among areas hardest hit by the pandemic.

“There is also a phenomenon that we are seeing that since hospitals are not willing to accept pregnant women if they are not in severe condition, they are being asked to deliver at the lower level of care like lower level hospitals or lying in clinics,” he said.

Some women opted to give birth at home.

Perez said the lockdowns have made it difficult to deliver family planning supplies to public health facilities.

He gave assurance that the PopCom is visiting health centers to check their stock of family planning supplies like contraceptives.

The agency set up warehouses in four regions to ensure adequate delivery of supplies.

But despite the increase in the number of newborns, the population has been growing at a slower pace.

For 2021, the growth rate is projected at 1.31 percent which represents some 1.4 million new babies born.

This is lower than the 1.68 percent population growth rate in 2016.

Between 2019 and 2020, the population growth rate was at 1.45 percent.

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