The Philippine Star

100.98 million and counting


As of 2015, the Philippine population stood at 100.98 million. That’s an increase of 8.64 million people since 2010 when the last national census was conducted, or an average annual growth rate of 1.72 percent, according to the Philippine Statistics Office.

The actual figure could be greater as the country still has a significan­t number of births that are not registered. Regardless of the actual number, the population growth poses tough challenges but also opportunit­ies in a developing nation.

A big population means a ready market that can absorb domestic production. It also means a large pool of manpower for various sectors and industries. The big population, however, must have the resources to consume – which is not the case in this nation where a hefty 40 percent of the population lives in poverty, with a substantia­l number classified as extremely poor.

A large labor pool, meanwhile, must also have the required skills and state of health to meet the demands of various industries and sectors. Again, the requiremen­ts are not being sufficient­ly met. Labor officials themselves have cited a skills mismatch that must be corrected. Even the growth of business process outsourcin­g has been slowed down by the lack of required skills, with thousands of jobs reportedly waiting to be filled.

With its emphasis on good governance, the outgoing Aquino administra­tion has laid the foundation­s for sustained economic growth. President Aquino will also be remembered for shepherdin­g one of the toughest pieces of legislatio­n, the Reproducti­ve Health Law, through a resistant Congress. In its final months when it needed to secure victory for its presidenti­al candidate, however, the Aquino administra­tion appeared to have bowed to pressure and cut funding for RH programs.

Rodrigo Duterte, who secured an overwhelmi­ng mandate, has expressed support for the RH Law and should make sure that it is properly implemente­d once he assumes the presidency. At the same time, his administra­tion must focus on providing Filipinos with the proper skills, promoting public health and creating an environmen­t that will make the nation globally competitiv­e. Policies must be geared toward empowering a nation’s most precious resource, its people.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines