The Grim Reality (By: Katrina Mae Yu)

Is it any wonder why we have fallen behind our Asian neighbors, and are likely to be left behind by the rest of developing Asia? We’re still debating such rudimentary matters as the population issue and fiscal deficits, while our neighbors have moved on to focus on more contemporary economic concerns, such as global competitiveness, investment climate and productivity growth. With a population of 100 million and with an estimate of only 38 million members employed, the Philippines is the 12th most populous and is among the poorest countries in the world.

Add to this information, Filipinos rely mostly on imports to feed themselves. Our main staple is rice but Filipinos are incapable of producing enough rice to feed its entire population. In terms of income, the country also relies heavily on the international community to provide jobs for skilled and non-skilled Filipinos with an estimated of more than one million (and counting) Filipinos working abroad as overseas foreign workers (OFWs). Overcrowding is one of the Philippine society’s problems due to government mismanagement; crime rate goes up along with the growing population because people fight for the same limited resources. Criminals end up in equally overcrowded and almost inhumane prison cells as well and as a result, there is no rehabilitation program in place for convicted criminals. This means that the minute they rejoin society, chances are, they will go back to doing criminal activities. Out of the country’s 100 million, only an estimated 38 million are productive or employed. Obviously, there are more Filipinos who are part of the unproductive members of society and who do not contribute to the growth of the economy. They in fact, just occupy precious space and pull down the economy.

Economic studies, especially the experience in Asia show that rapid population growth and high fertility rates, especially among the poor, exacerbate poverty. To address this economic problem, the RH Bill or the Reproductive Health Bill is fully implemented in the Philippines. The bill promotes information on and access to both natural and modern family planning methods, which are medically safe and legally permissible. Their common purpose is to prevent unwanted pregnancies which may be a probable cause of the rise of population.

Rapid population growth still remains a critical national concern for our country. However, the choice depends on us. Let’s face it.