WELL, TO be precise, 99,900,177, according to one forecast. That makes our country the 12th most populous nation on earth. Ours is the fourth most crowded place on earth after India, Bangladesh and Japan (on a list that excludes such exceptional cases such as Monaco, Singapore and Malta.)
It is a staggering figure. President Aquino presides over a nation nearly double the number of Filipinos when his mother assumed power in 1986. Since 2008 when the Reproductive Health Bill was filed in Congress, there are 4 million more Filipinos. And while Congress debated on the bill, which would empower Filipinos to choose whether to have children or not, and going by surveys that 36 percent to 44 percent of births in the country are unwanted, there have been as many as 1.8 million unwanted births in the past three years.
Worse, it is the poor who mostly have these unwanted births, as they do not have access to contraceptive information and means. (How can a laborer earning P200 a day afford condoms sold at P30 per pack?) While Congress debated and the Catholic Church threatened fire and brimstone against its supporters, our country produced 1.8 million more poor Filipinos.