POPULATION control proved far more than a Thomasian concern as Senate minority leader Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. explained the “fallacies” of the proposed two-child policy in the forum, “The Population Myth and Its Possible Repercussions to Philippine Society,” at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex auditorium last Sept. 24.

Pimentel said the two-child policy may even be called the “two-child fallacy” because it suffers from many wrong premises.

“(The policy argues) that population rise is the cause of poverty, but it’s not true at all,” he said. “Poverty is caused by government mismanagement and it is an economic issue that must be addressed through economic and social means.”

Pimentel also cited statistics to deny overpopulation in the country, pointing to the inaccuracy of figures which the two-child policy advocates use.

“The country’s population growth rate is 2.3 per cent, contrary to the 2.76 per cent growth rate which two-child policy advocates use,” he said.

In addition, the Senator said Filipinos leaving the country for jobs abroad lessen the country’s population.

“Statistics from the Department of Labor and Employment (indicate) that some 2,400 of our countrymen leave the country everyday to work abroad,” Pimentel said. “If that is correct, that means that 864,000 go out of the country for overseas employment in a given year, in addition to the eight million or so of our people who are already gainfully employed as overseas Filipinos.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Bernardo Villegas, senior vice president of the University of Asia and the Pacific, said recent population growth figures are exaggerated.

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“By the year 2020 to 2025, we would have reached our maximum population. From there it would decline as our present fertility rate is already dangerously close to 2.1 per cent,” he said. “So, it is impossible for our population to even double in the next 20 years.”

Also panelists were marriage counselor Fr. David Clay of the Missionary Society of Saint Columban and Dr. Edna Monzon, UST Department of Bioethics chair.

“The symposium was a good avenue in giving Thomasians a deeper understanding of the population issue, so they’d stop relying on hearsay,” said Faculty of Philosophy Student’s Forum president Bryann Jett Pano.

A similar symposium was held last July by the University and the American Studies Association of the Philippines, which established the University’s stand against population control because it is not a problem in the country.

The two-child policy bill, which would give incentives to couples with at least two children, was filed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman last July.

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