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Baby boom?

Commission on Population executive director Juan Antonio Perez III recently expressed concerns that a baby boom would happen when the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

In a recent interview, Perez said a spike in the number of Filipino babies born at the end of the community quarantines is possible, as PopCom is expecting to see a rise in childbirths during the first six to nine months of the year.

Citing projections of the Philippine Statistics Authority, Perez said the country’s population is expected to reach 110.8 million this year from 109.4 million in 2020. The figure does not include some 250,000 babies, who were conceived during the community quarantine.

He added that the lockdowns have caused a decline in the number of women going to health centers for family planning supplies and, at the same time, the “downturn in the health seeking behavior of pregnant women” has resulted in increased maternal mortality in Cebu, Manila, and Quezon City, that are among the areas hardest hit by the pandemic.

The country’s population growth has been slowing in recent years. The 2021 growth rate that is projected at 1.31 percent is lower than the 1.68 percent growth rate in 2016 and the 1.45 percent growth between 2019 and 2020.

A baby boom would reverse that trend but if government can ensure the proper delivery of services for a sudden surge in population, the country might benefit from the addition of more productive Filipinos as a pleasant side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, if our already strained government resources cannot cope with the demands of a suddenly growing population, Filipinos who are already accustomed to hardships will simply have to struggle a little bit harder in order to survive and thrive.*

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