The Philippines welcomed its 100 millionth citizen last week with the birth of a baby girl in Manila on July 27, 2014. The country is already the twelfth most populous in the world. 12 million people live in Metro Manila, making it one of the densest urban areas on Earth.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the suburban housing areas in the peripheries of Metro Manila. Lupang Arenda, in the boundaries of Taytay and Cainta, the two most populous municipalities in the country, is one such area. It lies on the banks of the Laguna de Bay, a flood-prone area during high tide or heavy rains. More than 40,000 people live in an area of 80 hectares, or less than a square kilometer.
According to projections from the Philippine Statistics Authority, three babies are born in the Philippines every minute. The result is a dense living area best exemplified by Lupang Arenda. Common here are households with four families living under one roof.
Eusebio Avenue, the main road that leads to the residential areas, is packed with people on any given day. The interior streets are named Mapalad, Mapagparaya, Matulungin, et cetera - noble virtues of a Filipino.
Sadly, the roads themselves are anything but noble in state. When it rains, the drains get clogged and water overflows onto the streets.
Residents still buy water by the gallons in the absence of potable water.
While basic necessities are wanting, there is an abundance of maternity clinics. Walk a few meters and you can see lying-in maternity clinics one after another. There's a waiting list of expectant mothers in every clinic.
The enactment of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law has seemingly not curbed population growth. Problems on healthcare, food, shelter and other basic necessities continue to hound the country.
Lupang Arenda, the once idyllic farm field by the Laguna de Bay, is but a slice of the burgeoning population issue.