POPCOM: Just stating facts
THE Commission on Population would like to address some concerns of the Manila Times editorial of January 10, 2018 (“POPCOM’s condescension”).
The POPCOM statement on population estimates is an annual exercise which deals with much more than growth rates and the number of people who will be added to our population by end of 2018. We focused on the estimates of the Philippine Population Pyramid, (please refer to attached image). We pointed out the significant segments of population which are setting records on achieving new benchmarks that government agencies and the private sector may want to consider.
We leave it to the users of our analysis to provide context based on their expected understanding of these important segments: women and girls of reproductive age, working age population, older/senior population and the school age population.
The movements in these sections of the population pyramid have social and economic implications. It is Congress that has asked government to focus on women of reproductive age (RPRH Law of 2012) and it is Malacañang which has directed the Department of Health (DoH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Commission on Population (POPCOM) to ensure the strict implementation of the law (Executive Order No. 12).
This is not “Western population bogey rhetoric of the 1970s.” It is the editorial that passes off its own biases as “context” and imposes its own take on what is a plain statement of facts by POPCOM, unfairly seeing condescension on women or bias against older persons when we are just stating facts.
POPCOM goes beyond the writer’s population bogey when we point out the changes in all areas of the population pyramid rather than at just the birth rate and fertility.
Filipinos must understand that countries in the 20th century were focused on the population explosion. The 21st century Philippines must look beyond this restricted view towards addressing all emerging issues affecting different segments of the population. This should now include decent work for 67 percent of our people who are productive. We must also give support for the older segment of the population who are ageing in an unhealthy manner and whom we must provide for, rather than allowing our caregivers to go to other countries and leave their elders without care.
It is significant and gratifying that the writer does not challenge any of the facts we have stated. POPCOM is the bearer of facts, both good and bad, but POPCOM does not deserve condemnation for delivering plain facts which some editors may not find in agreement with their worldview.
Juan Antonio A. Perez III, MD, MPH
Commission on Population
Department of Health
Source: The Manila Times