Chonalyn Sentino (left), one of the country’s symbolic “100th millionth babies,”
with parents Dailyn and Clemente.

The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) vows to pursue appropriate strategies and interventions ensuring every Filipino family will have the capacity to enhance their quality of living amid increasing population numbers and a surging pandemic.

It plans to achieve such by working together with relevant partners, stakeholders and the academe, covering the whole of government, as well as the public and private sectors.

POPCOM marks today, July 27, the seventh birthdays of 100 Filipino children whose birth anniversaries signaled the Philippines surpassing its population count of 100 million in 2014. Since their deliveries in state hospitals seven years ago, the agency has considered the birthdays of the said children as significant. They symbolize the country’s growing populace and the numerous challenges it poses to a government with modest resources in providing for the welfare and wellbeing of every child.

The natal days of Chonalyn Sentino—one of the country’s so-called “100 millionth symbolic babies”—and her peers, now take on a different perspective, as they are in the midst of living through the “pandemic of the 21st Century,” with their schooling compromised, the family’s livelihood affected, and their overall development as citizens severely impaired.

While working as a caregiver in London, Dailyn Cabigayan-Sentino—Chonalyn’s mother—shared her distress at being thousands of miles apart on her daughter’s seventh birthday: “I would do everything to provide for the needs of my daughter. When the time comes that I have enough savings, I will go back to the Philippines and put up a business.”

In response, Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio Perez III, MD, MPH emphasized that the improvement in the quality of lives of Filipino families is not only the lookout of the government, but the entire Philippine society as well, which is in accordance with the current administration’s commitment for every citizen to have a stable, comfortable and secure life, or “Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay.

“Children at seven years old are in the midst of a phase of rapid growth, as their needs also tend to change,” expounded Perez. “It is at this stage of their lives that they need to be monitored closely on their physical, intellectual and social-emotional development. The additional 9 million Filipinos since the birth of these children calls for the entire government to implement programs that promote inclusive growth, ensuring that no one is left behind.”

He likewise shared that national and local governments have measures in place to safeguard and promote a Filipino child’s welfare and wellbeing, as well as interventions that protect kids from serious health and development concerns.

POPCOM and its regional offices are continuously working closely with various local government units and the national government in monitoring the growth and development of the “symbolic Pinoy children,” now that they are entering elementary school and beginning to exhibit signs of personal independence.

“As the government responds to the needs of Filipino families, especially in terms of health and education during the health crisis and a growing young population, POPCOM continues to address the most significant and emerging issues surrounding their capacities as contributors to national development and its pursuit of the elusive ‘demographic dividend,’ with our children, of course, factored-in into the equation,” Perez noted.