CEBU CITY―Commission on Population Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez said Wednesday the Philippines should brace for an aging population by 2025 and a spike in its population growth of two million each year.
Speaking during the Second National Family Planning Conference at the Waterfront Hotel here, Perez said the elderly population was the fastest-growing age group in the Philippines today.
“The fastest growing population are those 60 and above,” said Perez, who talked during the Philippine Management Program during the two-day conference with the theme “Delivering the Promise: Family Planning on the Ground.”
He said that, based on the structure of the population pyramid, 4.7 percent of the Philippine population were over 65 years old.
“The rule of thumb is, if the population has reached seven percent....has 60 and above, your population will be considered beginning to age or starting to age. When it reaches 14 percent, that is an aged population,” Perez said.
He expected the Philippines to reach high population growth among the elders between 2025 and 2030.
“And when you breach 20 percent, that is a super aging population. That is the case of Japan where you now see 25 percent of the population aging,” Perez said.
He said 14 percent was the case of China and the 7 percent was where the Philippines had just entered.
“I think it will become worse by 2025 to 2030, that period when our aging population would double from 7 million now to 14 million,” Perez said.
He said the health and social services would be facing the problem of providing for those zero to 14 years of age.
And the aging population would also need larger amounts of resources to provide them with adequate health services.
He attributed the growing number of elders to education, more access to health services and more resources because they were able to save.
“The first demographic dividend is if you have a large population who are able to work. The second is that population is able to save for the future. But right now i don’t see that happening,” Perez said.
He cited recent discussion about SSS pensions when the retired workers complained that the P2,000 for medicines was not enough.
He conceded this was true because the health cost for the older population continued to grow.
Perez said the Philippines still had a large young population, although it was only declining very slowly.
“It is still 31 percent, our young population,” he said.
He said the growing young population should be given quality jobs because if they were not able to get work and they could not save while working, they would become a burden once they got old.
“So we want our young people to be employed well,” he said.
He likewise said 4.3 percent of the women of reproductive health would be added by 2020, so “we really need the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law.”