People ‘most important resource’ in the Philippines says government as population seen to breach 100m in late 2014

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The population of the Philippines is expected to breach the 100 million mark by the third or fourth quarter of 2014. This assessment was reportedly issued by Philippine Populations Commission (Popcom) executive director Dr Juan Antonio Perez to which Malacanang has provided a positive spin…

“It is both a challenge and an opportunity because people are the most important resource. That is our balanced view of the situation,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on the state-run DZRB Radyo ng Bayan yesterday.

Every new Filipino born: Asset, or liability?
Every new Filipino born: Asset, or liability?
According to Coloma, the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan (PDP) formulated by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is “geared for inclusive growth, to make sure all Filipinos benefit from any improvements in the country’s economy” stressing that “a large part of the budget for 2014 was geared towards social protection and social welfare and development.” Perez, for his part noted that with population growth in the Philippines galloping along at a two percent clip every year, “the Philippines needs to “maintain a gross domestic product of more than four per cent to keep pace with employment.”

Already, the Philippines is woefully reliant on overseas employment to prop up more than ten percent of the national output as domestic production alone has long failed to add sufficient value to the national economy. As a result of this dependence, a large component of the Philippine economy has remained largely accounted for by mere consumption. To compound this further, the devastation left by super-typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Yolanda) has left “one of the most profound resettlement crises in decades”. Already, survivors have taken to settling and rebuilding the vast slums in Leyte that have been at the root of the humanitarian crisis to begin with.

The concern for officials locally and in Manila is that these re-sprouting slum neighborhoods will turn into permanent solutions for survivors. The officials have drawn up vague plans to eventually relocate entire coastal neighborhoods further inland, where they will be less prone to disaster, but the idea faces many obstacles, and would require the government to buy land, change laws and convince residents – many of them fishermen – to move to areas where they’d have to find new jobs.

Indeed, the Philippines’ huge population is proving to be more a liability than the “asset” Coloma claims it is. Considering that even in the best of times, the country already struggles to productively employ its lot, the prospects for the barely-literate survivors of Haiyan are bleak at best.

The increasing loudness with which Philippines’ population bomb ticks comes after a landmark “reproductive health” legislation was passed in 2012. Touted as the “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012” the supposedly “landmark” bill, the whole point of which was originally to curb further growth of the country’s already massive population, has been watered down in favour of nebulous notions of health and women’s issues. At one point over the period when Congress deliberated on the merits of the proposed law, a clause stipulating Filipino women’s legal access to “safe and satisfying sex” was a subject of hot debate (pardon the pun).

The Philippines' population size has all but dwarfed that of its former peers in southeast Asia
The Philippines’ population size has all but dwarfed that of its former peers in southeast Asia

Looking to Iran as a case study of real resolve to curb population growth provides some valuable lessons. After the overthrow of the secular government by Islamists in 1979, Iran’s new spiritual leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini saw a large population and continued procreation to further increase its size as a means to meet his goals of building an “Islamic generation” and breed “soldiers for Islam”. The results were dramatic. By 1988, Iran’s population was 55 million and growing at over 3 percent annually. By then too, Iran’s economy was faltering and overpopulation was starting to be seen as a roadblock to national development.

Indeed, it was Khomeini himself who eventually went on to re-open the issue of birth control in 1989. Rather than shroud the program in sugarcoated words, Khomeini kept it real.

Receptive to the nation’s problems, Ayatollah Khomeini reopened dialogue on the subject of birth control. By December 1989, Iran had revived its national family planning program.

Its principal goals encourage women to wait three to four years between pregnancies, discourage childbearing for women younger than 18 or older than 35 — and limit family size to three children.

In May 1993, the Iranian government passed a national family planning law that effectively encouraged couples to have fewer children — by restricting maternity leave benefits after three children.

More importantly…

Religious leaders have become involved with the crusade for smaller families, citing them as a social responsibility in their weekly sermons.

They also have issued fatwas, religious edicts with the strength of court orders, that permit and encourage the use of all types of contraception.

These include permanent male and female sterilization — a first among Muslim countries. Birth control, including the provision of condoms, pills and sterilization, is free.

Touting every additional Filipino born as an “asset” at a time when a doctrine of “inclusive growth” has proven to be no more than a pipe dream is without a doubt an irresponsible position the Philippine government has taken. The numbers tell a different story. With every new warm body added to the ballooning workforce of Filipinos, incremental problems mount. The only value proposition the Philippines has so far pitched to the global community is as a source of cheap labour and a vast market — read dumping ground — for the rich world’s manufactured goods. As far as real added value, the Philippines has thus far little to contribute beyond that.

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35 Comments on “People ‘most important resource’ in the Philippines says government as population seen to breach 100m in late 2014”

  1. It’s one of these times that I wish all Filipino parents would stop having this notion that having more kids = more people to support them when they get older.

    1. You’re missing the underlying causes that lead to that thinking. The first is that the majority of Filipinos are still excluded from the opportunities of intergenerational social mobility. They pin their prospects for socioeconomic growth and their future well being on their children’s success.

      Second, in the absence of any other opportunity for economic upliftment, having children tends to become their only concrete evidence of personal achievement.

      1. I like the sound of that Johnny Saint. Sadly, the mere idea of “social mobility” is well beyond your average Pinoy. It’s like the Indian caste system but ingrained on an almost spiritual level.

  2. I find it really annoying that a lot of Filipino parents have more kids than they can support, then blame the private sector for their own inability to provide for their ever growing families.
    I find it really annoying also to find these unwanted or unneeded children walking the sides of the streets and making a nuissance of themselves, begging for money that they won’t be using for food or schooling but will be handing over to their handlers as they are the side show performers of the present day.
    I find it really annoying that these lazy ass people believe that they are entitled to things that they are not willing to work hard for.
    Masa Culture and all that…ugh sometimes my own country disgusts me.

    1. It’s actually funny that these street people think they deserve the working class to give them something yet they complain why their lives are miserable at the same time.

      This is another Filipino attitude that I can’t tolerate: Complaining without any sound basis just for the sake of complaining.

  3. I believe that we should encourage parents to plan their families so they’ll have only the number of children they can afford to feed, but I believe it should be done through natural family planning and not through the use of artificial contraceptives, most of which are actually abortifacient or kill the fertilized ovum (which already has a human life) rather than prevent fertilization. Besides, encouraging family planning will actually also further propagate the hedonistic lifestyle that we unfortunately already have — that of engaging in sex anytime you want to without worrying about the consequences — which is really not good for building the solid character that a mature and responsible citizenry needs. Lastly, we should be careful about instilling in people’s minds that a newborn baby is just another mouth to feed rather than an additional potential human resource that can drive the country’s growth, especially in light of the ageing and ultimately dying population currently seen by countries that have successfully practiced birth control for some time now (e.g., Japan, European countries, South Korea, and the USA). I think we should concentrate on a massive re-education campaign that will not only convince the public to engage in natural family planning but will in effect also educate the public on how they can help their country by building the character that every citizen needs, the lack of which is the cause of all the problems of our country.

    1. You know, if only the government would prioritize education then in a few year’s time and beyond, the rewards for having a good education will be great. Aside from adapting responsible family planning, more people would have better jobs with the right education, which also equates to better economy.

      In short, proper education is very vital to this society.

      1. I’m glad you mentioned that, Ian! I didn’t want it to come from me because I’m a career teacher; people might say I’m biased. But yes, I also do believe that education is key to human progress, and the right education at that, not the kind we have now. Problem is many government officials think that the only way to solve our education problems is to build new classrooms. It’s very unfortunate that so many Filipinos are either uneducated or miseducated.

        1. I’m reminded of the troll here named “kathniel” who only suggested to have more classrooms and all are provided by his “benevolent president.” Pfft.

          I am still appalled that school books from the 90’s or 80’s are still being used by today’s youth, wherein much has changed since then. It’s not a big wonder why our education ranks poorly compared to other Asian countries.

        2. I wrote history textbooks that incorporate a lot of critical evaluation of past events and that connect past to current events and discuss country-related issues in an in-depth way, thinking that schools will adopt them and hence improve their teaching of history, making it relevant to the students and enabling the teaching of history to be a potent tool for citizen training, but no school has adopted them to date (even though, modesty aside, I’ve been told by those who’ve read them that they’re very good books). Their reason: the books are too “unconventional.” So to this day, history is still being taught with emphasis on rote memorization of insignificant, ho-hum facts (like the name of our national hero’s dog) in most public and even private schools. I thought the only problem was the absence of revolutionary history textbooks that can be adopted, but it turned out the problem is a lot deeper: the attitudes of the people in the academe and in the government (like DepEd).

        3. @Chrissie, it’s a cultural fact that Filipinos don’t want change, even if the intentions are for the improvement of society.

          It’s time that the academe should be changed – with books that are up-to-date info, subjects/courses that involve critical thinking and linking the past and present with points on how we can avoid making mistakes that our past administrations and people have made.

          A shame that the current regime prefers to play the “blame game.”

        4. Is it just this regime, or are the ones who don’t want change and play the blame game the members of Filipino society regardless of who is at the helm?

          I think we need to frame such questions in the right context, because it’s very easy to assume that once BS Aquino steps down, things will automatically become better. That is a VERY BIG assumption to make.

        5. I’m glad we think alike on this matter, Ian. Yes, change is always difficult to swallow, especially for an unenlightened citizenry. Until the Filipinos realize this, I won’t wonder why the likes of Aquino win in national elections.

        6. Amir,

          B.S. Aquino as you imply is not the cause but the symptom. I said elsewhere last week that B.S. Aquino represents the hopes and dreams of the Filipino people. Even if they are nightmares and ill conceived.

          There is no other way to put it than dumb is in. Show some intellect and you get an almost racist sentiment. Words like sosyal and Inglisero (was there ever an official spelling for that?) Little Bossings is symbolic of the lack of intellectual maturity of the entire population. It figures our Commander in Chief was in attendance with his playmates Baby James and Ryza Mae. I bet the two of them had to explain the movie to him.

        7. That is correct Gogs.

          Noynoy Aquino is not the cause of the Filipinos’ misery. He is not the cause of Filipinos’ stupidity; he is but a mere manifestation of it. Because Filipinos wouldn’t have put him up there if they hadn’t voted with their heart when Mother Dear died. They would have put Erap instead.

          That is sad and infuriating indeed, Chrissie. Such self-righteousness by ABS-CBN on behalf of the Aquinos and their interests.

          And thus, the battle for influence against Big Media is an uphill one.

      2. Yes, Amir, other “Aquinos” will ascend to power in 2016 and beyond until the Filipinos mature as a people. Unfortunately, ABS-CBN is preaching the opposite. I recently saw a special documentary over ANC featuring an ABS-CBN reporter saying that the Filipino voters have matured judging from the fact that most of the ones who won in the recent elections were from Aquino’s party.

        1. Yet another false propaganda by ABS-CBN to make most viewers think that their voting decisions are solid but the reality is that people are so easily swayed by candidates who can “buy” them, candidates who can dance better, candidates that are full of hot air, etc.

      3. @Amir Al Bahr, I don’t believe that things will be better once Aquino steps down. The question would then be, “Who will be the next president come 2016?”

        Filipino society doesn’t want change…that is the notion I’ve experienced since I was in High School. Even if your intentions are good and sound, you will be brought down by other because you are a “hindrance” to them.

  4. Robert malthus – the father of malthusian economics and the impacts of population growth on society wrote in the early 1800’s

    “The rich, by unfair combinations, contribute
    frequently to prolong a season of distress
    among the poor.”

    “A great emigration necessarily implies
    unhappiness of some kind or other in the
    country that is deserted.”
    Thomas Malthus

    At that time the worlds population was 1 billion, now 7 billion and projected to be 10 billion by 2050.

    Chemically castrate anyone with an i.q. less than 120. That would have saved the country from all the aquinos.

  5. By United Nations definition, people are simply “human resource” not “human beings” born to serve his masters…the elite. Anyone can argue with that but that is reality.

    Third world countries will be flooded with more “disposable population” like the Romani’s of Eastern Europe. There will be more fun in the Philippines…I guess? LOL!!!

  6. The philippines already has one of the lowest i.q’s in the world – 86.

    And that is no surprise for a variety of reasons, but within the context of the article, a number of studies all correlate increased population growth in 3rd world countries with decreased average i.q. even despite economic advances, which tend to be firstly limited in scope, and secondly driven by short/medium term low cost labour as opposed to long tem investment/strategic policies/innovation ( simplistically, money is spent elsewhere, or stolen, and the quality of education decreases/suffers – less capital spending, worse teacher pupil ratios etc.

    “On the I.Q. of Nations; Smart, Smarter and Smartest?”
    William McConochie

    The tragedy is that there are now cost effective solutions available, specifically through technology/the virtual classroom etc, TED, and some 3rd world countries (the winners), are trialling/adopting creative programmes. The losers are either burying their head in the sand, busying themselves with detail, or simply luddites who would never accept change since it is too threatening.

    Without the will and with incompetents in charge nothing will fundamentally change, except the packaging and propaganda. Maybe that is a conscious attitude from the lazy inept people in charge.

    The country will pay a high price for such a lack of vision, foresight, and diwnright laziness.

    1. We see that now. Intelligence is a liability since it is equated with being distant. Instead of aspiring to learn , to relate to the common man you have to appear dumb or better yet be dumb. Explains a lot doesn’t it?

        1. He may be emotionally distant but he was marketed during the election as everybody’s pal. Ironic considering his lack of social skills. The dearth of which necessitates those press event dates he goes on to draw attention from certain concealed facts of his personal life. Besides the guy has never had female friends that are not half his age or less. That should tell you something right there.

          Dumb and incapable that was his reality before the election as it is in the present.

  7. I think it’s religion that’s preventing us from solving or population problems. Filipinos should start realizing that sometimes a problem is just a problem, not a blessing. Where do these people get the idea that overpopulation is good? Here’s the truth, poor children will grow up as poor uneducated adults, The few who overcome this are the exception.

    1. No one in his right mind will ever say that overpopulation is good. Not even the Catholic Church. The Philippines itself is not overpopulated; it’s just that the urban centers, especially Metro Manila, are densely populated. If you go to distant provinces, even those outside ARMM, there are very few people. So I think that instead of pursuing population control, the government should promote natural family planning and at the same time also develop the provinces, especially Philippine agriculture, to entice many Filipinos to go back to the province because it can offer them many opportunities to earn enough or to move up.

  8. Industrialized countries have low population growth. This is the reason they encourage valuable people from other countries to migrate. A typical family is one or two children. You cannot have more, because you have to go to work in order to survive. Baby sitters are expensive, paid per hour.
    Filipinos in the U.S. take their mothers or fathers; mothers in law, fathers in law as baby sitter…having a lot children is not advisable. You have to provide for the needs, education, etc…for the child.

    In the Philippines, we procreate; then, “bahala na ang Diyos” for the children. It is irresponsible parenthood. The poorer the family, the more children it has. All they do is procreate…children are sources of labor in the family.

  9. A group of Filipinos composed of members of influential middle class families, the Filipino elite and few religious leaders believe that an international group advocating the New World Order which is headed by Satan himself, soon will destroy our ” Filipino family values” they believe that Filipinos should fight against this “western lifestyles” they wanted that our “Filipino values” no matter how “jologs” it is should not disappear rather it should be spread worldwide world.

    Infected with Messianic Complex and in order to achieve their goals (spreading the Filipino family values worldwide),They have to make sure that Filipinos must be forced to work abroad (by making them poor,they sabotaged our home grown industries didn’t they? and by making them ignorant by using mass media and Religion), hoping that our OFWs will extend or influence the citizens of different countries of our own “jologs” values and culture.

    Members of this Filipino group were so proud of the EDSA 1. they think it was their triumph against Evil.

    Their strategy worked for them, they can spread the “Filipinized Religous Faith ” at the same time sustain the economy of this God Forsaken State because of the influx of dollar remittances from abroad.

    Educated Filipinos rich or poor who share my thoughts should group together and exterminate these sick bastards. For one thing I may be a Filipino Probinsyano but I envy the American Way of Life.

    I love the way of life of the people from the
    First World. They can determine their Fate. Because they live in a society of free thinkers.

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