MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday took note of the Philippines’ rising population but did not finish his remarks as he wanted to avoid another clash with the Catholic Church.
Duterte said the Philippines is among the countries with the fastest population growth rates.
“We are so industrious that we are producing more people than…” Duterte said, cutting off his sentence.
“I don’t want to quarrel with the religious,” he added.
Duterte had previously blamed the Church for the steep rise in the country’s population.
The Church has been actively campaigning against the use of artificial means of birth control, a policy supported by Duterte.
As of August 2015, there were 100.9 million Filipinos, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.
With a 1.72-percent population growth between 2010 and 2015, the Philippines has the world's 13th biggest population, US-based World Population Review (WRP) said.
The PSA said Philippine population is expected to rise to nearly 109 million in 2019.