President Marcos approves 5-year plan to address population challenges

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
President Marcos approves 5-year plan to address population challenges
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr
Bongbong Marcos / Facebook Page

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos has approved a five-year plan that seeks to address challenges faced by the country’s population, Malacañang said yesterday.

The Philippine Population and Development Plan of Action (PPD-POA) 2023-2028 will serve as the “overall blueprint” for inter-agency collaboration in formulating and adopting comprehensive long-term plans and programs on population.

Under Memorandum Circular 40, signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on Nov. 14, Marcos cited the role of the country’s demographics in accelerating the attainment of the administration’s socioeconomic development agenda under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028.

To ensure the successful implementation of the PPD-POA 2023-2028, the memorandum directs all concerned national government agencies and instrumentalities, and local government units (LGUs) to support its implementation.

“In accordance with their respective mandates, all concerned agencies and instrumentalities of the National Government, including government-owned or -controlled corporations are hereby directed, and all LGUs are hereby encouraged, to undertake efforts in support of the implementation of the PPD-POA 2023-2028, and the plans and programs specified therein,” MC 40 stated.

The PPD-POA 2023-2028 was crafted by the Commission on Population and Development (CPD), formerly the Commission on Population or PopCom.

CPD will serve as the lead agency in the implementation of the PPD-POA 2023-2028, according to the Palace memo.

In his speech at the PDP 2023-2028 Forum in January, the President said the development plan “will set the Philippines towards becoming an upper-middle income country by the year 2025.”

“But beyond economic development, the plan also focuses on social development and protection, disaster resilience, digital transformation and many other things,” Marcos said.

Under the plan, the government will enhance connectivity among the country’s islands and with the rest of the world “to facilitate greater movement of goods and people to keep the economy thriving and active,” the Chief Executive said.

At the 42nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Indonesia in May, Marcos, who is a senior citizen himself, urged his counterparts to prioritize measures that would address the region’s aging population.

Marcos noted one out of four people in the Asia Pacific will be over 60 years old by the year 2050.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)’s 2020 survey, 9.2 million Filipinos are senior citizens or are 60 years old and above.

The Philippines had a total population of 109,035,343 persons based on the PSA’s 2020 Census of Population and Housing.

Of this total, 33.4 million or 30.7 percent were under 15 years of age; 69.40 million or 63.9 percent were aged 15 to 64 years, or working-age, economically active population; while 5.86 million or 5.4 percent were in age groups 65 years and over.

The PSA reported last year that the country’s fertility rate declined from 2.7 children per woman of reproductive age (15 to 49 years old) in 2017 to 1.9 children per woman in 2022.

By area of residence, women living in rural areas had a slightly higher fertility rate of 2.2 children per woman as compared to women living in urban areas with 1.7 children per woman, the agency noted.

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