Filipino Women and Population

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The Philippines ranks as the 12th most populous country in the world, based on the data of the 2003 United Stated Census Bureau. Based on the 2000 census of the National Statistics Office, the present population of the Philippines is 84.7 million with an annual growth rate of 2.36% which is among the highest in the world.

Fast-paced population growth and rampant urbanization represent some of the major population concerns in the Philippines, a country of over 80 million people where the average number of children born to a woman is close to four and where a sizeable 37 percent of the population is under age 15.

The idea of constrained population growth through contraception sits hard among some sectors, especially the Catholic church, who insist that it is anti-children, anti-family and anti-life, and might lead to promiscuity among women. Some agree with natural family methods while some disagree with artificial methods, saying that it is against nature. While childbirth is a shared social responsibility between couples and the state to ensure the continuity of the human race, women are in a unique position of being the main instrument of delivering and nurturing this new life.

Since the issue depends on how women affects population growth, they should be given the chance to choose their desired method including the knowledge on the effectivity and safety of these approach. The government must commit to make all the methods accessible, along with adequate information about the advantages, effectivity and risks of each method including counseling from well-trained health workers. Aside from the government, women's groups and non-government organizations (NGO) should constantly scrutinize population programs and expose population control abuses and should be updated with recent contraceptive researches.

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