Saturday, January 2, 2010

RP population to reach 94 million

By Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star
Updated January 03, 2010 12:00 AM

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines - With some two million Filipino babies born annually, the country’s population will grow to 94 million this year, an official of the Commission on Population (PopCom) said yesterday.

PopCom executive director Tomas Osias said this increase, which represents a population growth rate (PGR) of 2.04 percent, is quite high, considering that Thailand’s PGR is less than one percent.

The Philippines and Thailand used to be known as “twin countries” as they were almost on equal footing when it came to economy and population in the 1970s.

But while the use of contraceptives in the Philippines is being discouraged by the Catholic Church, Thailand has been aggressively promoting the use of condoms to limit family size and to fight the spread of HIV.

In an interview, Osias claimed the country’s ideal PGR is less than one percent to effectively match the economic growth rate.

“We have to manage our population by providing couples with informed choice. All medically safe and ethically accepted family planning methods must be available to them,” he added.

But, apparently influenced by the Catholic hierarchy, the national government under the Arroyo administration does not procure contraceptives. Instead, it allows local government leaders to buy their own supply of contraceptives.

According to Elizabeth Angsioco, secretary general of the non-government organization Reproductive Health
Alliance Network (RHAN), the Philippines must have a strong family planning program to ensure a better “quality of life” for Filipinos.

“It’s so simple. The bigger the family, the harder for it to overcome poverty,” she said.

Angsioco further said that for the past 14 years, the Reproductive Health Bill has been pending in Congress. The measure would provide couples with the opportunity and means to decide for themselves the size of their family.

“RHAN does not believe in controlling the population. What we want is for couples to have access to all (family planning) information and services and then they can decide for themselves how they want to (manage) their family,” she added.

She expressed hope that the next president or whoever will be elected to Congress in the 2010 polls will support the RH bill.

“We need leaders who will respect our rights to make the right choices. Depriving us of information and services on family planning is like coercing us (into doing something we don’t really like),” Angsioco said.

Original Story:

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