Aquino gov't has no population growth target

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2011 02:12 PM | Updated as of Feb 14 2011 10:12 PM

President Benigno Aquino III on Monday said his administration is not targeting a specific annual growth rate for the country's population.

In an interview, the President said deciding on the number of children is best left to the discretion of the parents.

“Marami ho kasi ang nakikialam at nagse-set ng ideal number. Those who advocated one child per family are now regretting that they did so. Those that didn’t have a policy also regretted they didn’t have a policy. So uulitin ko lang ‘no, sino ba ang makakaalam kung ano ang kakayahan para arugain ‘yung mga anak? Eh di ‘yung mga magulang na alam nila ang kinikita nila, alam nila ‘yung kaya nilang tustusin sa pag-aaral, sa pagamot, etc," he told reporters after inspecting the upgraded facilities of the East Avenue Medical Center. 

He added: "They are aware of their limitations and capabilities therefore, it is really the empowering of the parents themselves and even the unborn for that matter that we are striving to achieve—not ‘yung absolute numbers. We really believe that it will be best left to the discretion and decision of the parents themselves."

Aquino said members of his Cabinet are in the process of conducting a dialogue with the Catholic Church on their inputs to the version of the Responsible Parenthood bill being crafted by Malacanang.

He said the the government and the Church have a lot of common ground on the issue of population growth.

"We want to have a focus on the idea that bringing children into this world is really a responsibility of the parents who would know best as to their capabilities to nurture all of these children. So it’s really a reorientation of what the reproductive health today has been. This is really a refocusing on the fact that we are focused on the quality of life of all of their children and also focused on the idea that responsibility has to be borne out by the parents together with the churches that they belong to and the state,” he said.