MANILA - Filipino population is expected to reach 105.75 million by the end of 2017, thanks to women's high fertility rates, the Commission on Population (POPCOM) said Thursday.
At least 1.69 million Filipinos births are expected in 2017 as three Filipino babies are projected to be born every minute next year, POPCOM stated.
"This trend is expected to continue up to 2022... due to the relatively high fertility rates of Filipino women," the study said.
Each Filipina aged between 15 to 49 is expected to have an average of three children, POPCOM said.
By the end of 2017, POPCOM estimates that there will be 31.5 million Filipino school children, 66.7 million Filipinos in the labor force, and 5.2 million Filipinos aged over 65.
The projections were made using data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, POPCOM said.
The country’s growing population has set back the decades-old struggle to lift more people from poverty, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said earlier this year.
Citing his own computations, Pernia said the poverty rate could have been reduced by an additional 7 to 8 percentage points had 40 percent of women been given the means to have three children instead of six.
President Rodrigo Duterte has been pushing for reproductive health, noting that the ballooning population must be addressed in order to ease poverty.
“Ang problema nga dito sa Pilipinas, we have breached also the  million [population], 105 [million] na tayo ngayon. And if we just keep on [growing] just with these programs of government, we have to reduce the population. Family planning. I'm not talking about abortion. I'm talking about family planning. Eh ayaw ng simbahan eh, so we are in a bind,” Duterte said in a speech on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court in 2015 issued a temporary restraining order that barred the government from granting all pending applications for registration and/or re-certification for reproductive products and supplies, including contraceptive drugs and devices; and procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing or administering, advertising and promoting the hormonal contraceptive “Implanon” and “Implanon NXT,” which have been certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to have abortifacient character.”