MANILA - The Philippine population increased to 109,035,343 as of May 1, 2020, or 8 million more since 2015.
The population has a growth rate of 1.63%, according to the Commission on Population and Development (Popcom).
"Siyempre nasa one year after na tayo ng census, so we are probably in reality more than 110 million by now," said Popcom USec. Juan Antonio Perez III.
Region 4-A had the highest population with 16,195,042, followed by the National Capital Region with 13,484,462; and Region 3 with 12, 422,172. The combination of these regions consisted of 38.6 percent of the entire population in 2020.
For Perez, these numbers regions are important to note, considering the country is under various levels of quarantine.
"Ang tawag ko diyan ay 'mega region'. Ang kahalagahan ng NCR na yan plus the two regions is that economically, mga 63 percent ng ating ekonomiya, ng gross domestic product ay nanggagaling sa 3 rehiyon na yan. So talagang nababahala ang ating mga economic managers every time na maglo-lockdown or mag ECQ kasi 60% plus ng economy and 38 percent of the population is automatically affected by these ECQs," Perez explained.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao had the highest growth rate with 3.265 percent, with Region 7 at 1.88 percent and Region 4-A with 2.48 percent. Region 8 had the lowest growth rate at 0.5 percent.
Filipino women are expected to have around 3 children during their childbearing years.
While the country’s population increased by 1.63 percent, compared to 2015, the rate of the increase is slowing down.
POPCOM said a 1 percent growth rate would be more "comfortable".
"We don't want a zero population growth… What we want is the growth of the population based on our capacity to support the population," Perez said.
The government has been bankrolling reproductive health initiatives on responsible parenthood and family planning.
As of 2020, there were about 8.1 million family planning users, or an increase of 6 percent.
"Most important problem ng mga kababaihan ay ang pagbubuntis. so naging dahilan ito para maghanap ng family planning ang ating kababaihan," Perez said.
FAMILY PLANNING AFFECTED BY THE PANDEMIC: DOH
The health department, meanwhile, fears there may be a "baby boom" this year given that family planning services are not as accessible as they were pre-pandemic.
While the use of modern contraceptives was at 8.1 million users in 2020, the Department of Health believes there were "data quality issues" in their "reporting mechanisms", thus validation is needed.
Assuming family planning services dip this year, unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal deaths due to unsafe abortions may occur.
They have presented 3 scenarios:
- If the modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR) did not increase— it will yield up to 47,000 additional unintended pregnancies; 11,200 cases of additional unsafe abortions; and 30 additional maternal deaths.
- Where there is a decline in mCPR is at 1 percent— will yield to 150,000 additional unintended pregnancies; 35,400 additional unsafe abortions; and 90 additional maternal deaths.
- With a decline of 3 percent of mCPR— there will be additional 359,000 unintended pregnancies; 84,700 additional unsafe abortions and 200 additional maternal deaths.
"Dapat nating alalahanin ang clients’ need for family planning services does not end when there are disasters, emergencies and epidemic," DOH Disease prevention and control Bureau Medical officer IV Dr. Jan Aura Laurelle Llevado said.
"Di po dapat natatapos doon. Provision for full and wide range of modern contraceptives as well as information and counseling are all life- saving and must be accessible and available in this time of pandemic, or any kind of catastrophes."
"We should protect family planning as an essential health service," she added.