The link between population growth and economic development was the subject of intense research from the 1960s to the 1980s. A common view was that rapid population growth – of two percent or higher per year then prevailing in many developing countries – was more likely to hinder than foster economic development. This negative effect operates via reduced child care and human capital investment, lower household savings for private and public investments, and constraints on allocative efficiency, entrepreneurship and innovation. Rapid population growth results in available capital being thinly spread among many workers, as well as in fiscal and environmental externalities (Pernia, et al. 2004). The House Bill No. 5043, more commonly known as the Reproductive Health Bill of 2008, which is in substitution to House Bill Nos. 17 (Adolescent Reproductive Health), 812 (Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development), 2753 (Women's Right to Know Act) and 3970 (Bill Enhancing the Philippines’ Labor Dispute Settlement System) was introduced during the first regular session of the 14th Congress by Honorable(s) Edcel C. Lagman, Janette L. Garin, Narciso D. Santiago III, Mark Llandro Mendoza, Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel and Elandro Jesus F. Madrona. Currently the country has 88.7 million people from 60.7 million people in year 1991. This rate makes the Philippines the 12th most populous nation in the globe. The fertility rate of Filipino women is estimated to be at 3.05% which is at the upper bracket of 206 countries. It is estimated that four babies are born every minute. If this rate continues, the population of the Philippines will balloon to 130.2 million in the next 20 years.
The bill does not only seek to limit the population, it also provides for population development that aims to help couples or parents achieve their fertility rate, improve reproductive health, reduce incidence of teenage pregnancy, contribute to policies that will aid the government to achieve a favorable balance between population and distribution, economic activities and the environment. However, this act is not coercive rather suggestive; not compulsory but voluntary (Lagman. 2008).
A. It is essential to reducing Poverty
Studies show that rapid population growth intensifies poverty while poverty develops rapid population growth. This is basically due to the fact that because there is a large population, information is not properly segregated or disseminated. The National Statistics Office (NSO) disclose that the family income and expenditures surveys conducted in 1985-2000 results say that 57.3% of families having many children are poor while only 15.7% of families having only two children are poor. This is mainly because families with bigger number of members have to spend more compared to those families with only two children. The latest data shows that poverty incidence is less than 10% for a family with one child; but it rises steadily with the number of children to 57% for a family with 9 or more children. According to the NSSM 200 report, the Philippines, as one of the thirteen countries tended by it and also a part of the 47 percent that make up the world population, it must advocate the promotion of education and contraception and other population control measures (NSSM). Moreover, the UN Human Development Reports show that countries with higher population growth invariably score lower in human development. The Asian Development Bank in 2004 also listed a large population as one of the major causes of poverty in the country. The National Statistics Office also affirms that large families are prone to poverty with 57.3 percent of families with seven children mired in poverty while only 23.8 percent of families with two children are poor. Recent studies also show that large family size is a significant factor in keeping families poor across generations (Lagman. 2008).
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