The Philippines is a very unique and beautiful country located just south of Taiwan in the Pacific Ocean. Made up of over 7,000 islands, the people of the various provinces vary in their language, culture and religious beliefs depending largely on where they live. They have been under the control of the United States, Japan and Spain, and all of these countries and many more have an influence on who the people of the Philippines are today. I have lived in the Philippines, working with a hunger relief agency, and am married to a Filipina. Poverty is a very large part of every Filipinos life, and the following information is highly reflective of that poverty. Studies show that the birth rate in the Philippines is estimated at 24.62 births per 1000 people Compared to the birth rate of 13.66 per 1000 in the United States (CIA, 2013). This is a very high number and a key factor when considering the rate of population growth. As discussed this week in our class discussions, it seems the culture of the country is one of the significant reasons for this high birth rate. The majority of Filipinos live in poverty and have absolutely no hope of being self-supportive in their old age. Retirement is not a time when the Filipino kicks back and lives on all the money they saved over their lifetime. It is a time when most Filipinos are past the point of being self-sufficient, and must rely on others for survival. The mental attitude of many Filipinos is to have enough children so that the grown children will be the financial support they need in old age. Fortunately, it is very strong in the beliefs of the Filipinos to take care of their parents in old age. Another factor on the birth rate in the Philippines is religion and its influence on the state and the people. Almost 83% of the people are Catholic, (CIA, 2013) and follow (to some degree) the strict guidance that does not allow for birth control. Family Planning (as an organization or function of government) is practically non-existent. For these and various other reasons it is easy to see why fertility rates in the Philippines are a serious issue. The total fertility rate in the Philippines is 3.1 per woman. Once again we will compare it to the total fertility rate in the United States of 2.06. (CIA, 2013) The fertility rate in the Philippines exceeds the replacement rate of 2.0 by at least one additional child per woman. This statistic indicates a constant growth in population, along with a decline in the median age. It appears that the poor and under-educated Filipinos bear the brunt of the statistics, making it more difficult for them to feed their families and assure a proper education. Many children in infancy and youth are abandoned or given up for adoption because of the stress they cause on the individual family. Estimates are of up to 100 abandoned children ever two months. (ABS-CBN News, 2010). And these are the numbers that are officially tracked. It is difficult to comprehend the realities and the actual number of children who live in poverty or without family as a result of the fertility rate (and other factors) among the poor. The people of the Philippines have an unusual population dynamic, and they even have a name for it. OFW (or Overseas Filipino Workers) are a significant influence on the nation of the Philippines and the world. OFWs can be found in every progressive nation of the world, mostly on temporary work visas. They work primarily to help family back home survive financially. Successful workers are even able to help some family members get a higher education. Many of these OFWs go home once their Visas have expired. But many stay in these other countries indefinitely due to work, marriage or other reasons. Estimates are that 10% (approximately nine million people) have been, or are OFWs. (Unlad Kabayan, n.d.) In my wife’s family, OFWs have resulted in permanent residence in; The United States,...
References: CIA (2013) The World Factbook. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rp.html
Unlad Kabayan (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.unladkabayan.org/overseas-filipino-workers.html
ABS-CBN News, (2010). Retrieved from: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/09/19/10/100-kids-abandoned-every-2-months
Index Mundi, (2012)
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