UNFPA Representative to the Philippines, Ugochi Daniels noted that globally, while women are having fewer children on the average, global population continues to rise.
The Philippines is the 12th most population country in the world with 94.9 million people and Asia remains home to 60 percent of the world’s population.
This is according to the 2011 State of the World Population report releases on October 26, 2011 focusing on the global population milestone of 7 billion estimated to take place at the end of October.
“While our world of 7 billion presents a complex picture of trends and paradoxes, there are some essential global truths we observe. Conversely, there is no one global population outlook. Within countries, wide disparities between the rich and the poor are also glaring. Looking at fertility in the local context, Filipino women in the poorest quintile have an average of six children, two more than they desire, because of lack of access to reproductive health information services,” Daniels said.
She also noted that in the Philippines, 49 percent of the population live in cities as more people from the rural areas look for better opportunities elsewhere. Internal migration poses issues that have to be addressed such as trafficking of women.
The Philippine population remains young with people under the age of 25 making up 54 percent of the population. However, there is a need to respond to the needs of young people by providing them with life skills including proper information about their sexuality.
Currently, 10 percent of Filipino girls aged 15 to 19 have begun childbearing. Young people are also increasingly becoming more vulnerable to HIV infections. Latest data shows that 56 out of 156 new cases (or 35 percent) of HIV infections recorded last August belong to the 15 to 24 age group.
The report, published by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund states that China continues to have the biggest share of the world’s population at 1.35 billion, followed by India at 1.24 billion.
But by 2025, the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates that India will overtake China with 1.46 billion people, against the latter’s 1.39 billion.
Population growth tends to increase in many parts of the developing world than income growth, in which case the need for reproductive health care should be met especially the voluntarily family planning.
The attainment of a stable population is a sine qua non for accelerated economic growth and development. Government that are serious about eradicating poverty should also be serious about providing the services, supplies, information that women, men, and young people need to exercise their reproductive rights,” the report said.
The State of the World Population report makes the case that with planning and the right investments in people now, a world of 7 billion and beyond can have thriving, sustainable cities, productive labour forces that can fuel economic growth, young populations that contribute to the well-being of economies and societies and a generation of older people who are healthy and actively engaged in the social and economic affairs of their communities. Ester Z. Gallardo, PSciJourn Mega Manila