BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) oriented the staff of NEDA-CAR on the benefits of the demographic dividend and CAR’s unique position to take advantage of this. PopCom Regional Director Magdalena Abellera stressed that through population management, people-centered development could be achieved.

Population and respecting choices

Abellera opened the seminar with an emphasis on the shifting trend of population studies and initiatives based in the Philippine Population Management Program. While previous initiatives stressed population control by way of aggressive campaign for family planning and contraceptives, the current trend recognizes that the model of “population control” lacks the agency and involvement of the people involved. A better term is population management which shares the responsibility of regulating the population between the government and its citizens. Moreover, population management recognizes the rapid population growth of the Philippines not merely as a problem but a developmental opportunity given proper management in education, health, and migration. With population management, there is an emphasis on educating the populace on not just proper birth control but also family decision-making like how many children to have based on the family’s financial capability to support its dependents and eventually get out of intergenerational poverty. PopCom emphasizes that families must ultimately be empowered make their own decisions given the right information.

Demographic Dividend

PopCom information officer Job David Manalang discussed the concept of the demographic dividend as an indicator of the benefits of population management both at the level of the family and society as a whole. Data shows that due to having more dependents (both children 18 years old and below and retirees who are not earning income) than one can support, working-age Filipinos on average are not able to save a part of their earning income until they pass the age of 50. Demographic dividend or “bonus” occurs when the population has more individuals at working age (15-64 years old) than dependents particularly at the younger age group (0-18 years old) and individuals earns enough income to not only sustain its dependents but accumulate savings until retirement.

Mainstreaming Population Management and Development

Director Abellera sought the help of NEDA-CAR in disseminating information of on population development initiatives. Director Rimando said that this is aligned with the current development focus on people rather than concepts such as infrastructure or macroeconomics. “People are at the center of development processes; we do all these programs para sa tao”, Rimando said.

To further strengthen initiatives and awareness of population and migration concerns, the Cordillera Regional Development Council passed RDC-CAR Resolution No. 45 Series of 2020 entitled “Adopting the Regional Population Executive Board as a Support Committee of the RDC to coordinate the implementation of the Philippine Population Management Program of the Cordillera Region”. This formalizes the Regional Population Executive Board to help better implement the PPMP at the regional level. The Board will address concerns on population such as family planning, migration, and teenage fertility.