According to the National Statistics Office, the Philippines population reflected a 2.36 percent average annual growth rate and is expected that our population will reach 100 million in 14 years and even double (from the current size) in the next 29 years. Will our overpopulation become more of a problem than it already is?
One of the undervalued and still unaddressed problems that lie in the Philippines today is its population. Due to our overpopulation, our country is struggling to provide enough job opportunities with increasing number of young job applicants while simultaneously educating growing numbers of children. Furthermore, with the now overwhelming increase rate of our population, we would eventually have to deal with environmental side effects such as deforestation, soil erosion, degradation of marine resources, and more. The Philippines is highly susceptible to environmental damage because of the mountainous terrain, fragile soils, and climate.
Let’s face facts: We are a third world nation that gets by mostly because of our OFWs and our natural resources. It’s no secret that our country has been suffering from an economic crisis. Between 1960 and 1980, the development of export crops played a very big part in the land extension that reduced our forest area almost by half; all because there was a need to address our then growing population’s need for capital. Our country is also known for its particularly long coastline which used to support about 25 percent of the population. However, the increase in our population has led to developments and degradations which have grossly depleted our fisheries.
Evidently, rapid population growth seems to be at the center of it all. If these were the effects of our population on our natural resources back then, how much worse will it be in the near future when our population doubles?
In any case, the Philippines’ profuse natural resources are due to population growth and poverty (which, actually, also stems from population growth). If our current population situation isn’t resolved soon, local ecological systems may eventually collapse and bring about disastrous effects.
We must also bear in mind that government policies can only do so much. Thus, instead of blindly blaming the government for everything that goes wrong in our country, we, ourselves, must also analyze what we are doing wrong and begin making conscious efforts in order to ensure that our country still has a future.
Jayme Luis Pineda