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EDITORIAL - 104 million and growing

(The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2016 - 9:00am

The Supreme Court has given the go-signal for the implementation of Republic Act 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. It will take years, however, before the full impact of the RH law becomes evident.

Meanwhile, the nation must meet the demands of an ever-growing population. The past year ended with the Commission on Population reporting that the number of Filipinos would hit 104 million in 2016, up from the current 102.4 million. PopCom officials say the projection could be lower if the increasing trend in contraceptive use is sustained during the year.

The national fertility rate is slowing down, according to PopCom. Still, it is clear that the country cannot keep up with the demands of the booming population. Official statistics show that the poverty rate has changed little over the past six years. The classroom backlog is being addressed and the textbook shortage is over, according to education officials, but public education resources remain inadequate. Public health facilities are overwhelmed. At government hospitals, new mothers share not just rooms but also beds.

The lack of meaningful jobs is reflected in the continuing exodus of Filipinos for employment overseas. The lack of decent sources of livelihood especially in the countryside is also a key reason for urban migration, which has turned Metro Manila into one of the world’s most congested mega-cities.

Other urban centers such as Baguio are rapidly becoming overcrowded. As in Metro Manila, urban blight is the result. Too many people compete for limited resources. Vehicles compete for road space with no room for expansion. All basic services are inadequate, from shelter to garbage collection and maintenance of peace and order. With the RH law in place, the greater challenge is to improve governance and delivery of services. This cannot wait for population growth to taper off.

ACCORDING ACT COMPETE DEMANDS EDUCATION FILIPINOS METRO MANILA POPULATION REPUBLIC ACT RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH ACT URBAN
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