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2010 Census Affirms Our Stance and Confirms Our Fears

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Days before the start of the Catholic Holy Week, President Benigno Aquino III, signs Proclamation No. 362 on March 30, 2012 making the 2010 Census of Population and Housing official.  While the much anticipated official census report was welcomed by NGOs, it also raised fears.

We are pleased that the census result was made official and shows us that the 2010 population increased by 15.83 million compared to the 2000 population of 76.51 million. But we should look beyond the numbers and think about what this means in terms of provision of services.  Each year, 1.7 million more Filipinos will demand and deserve basic services of food, shelter, health and education to name a few.

Focusing on two basic provisions such as education and health, the demand for classrooms and teachers around the country still remains.  Less than two months before the opening of the new school year, shortage in classrooms is expected. With families experiencing financial troubles, there has been an increase enrolment of students from private to public school over the years.

The census affirms why we should support the passage of the RH Bill. The census result also confirms the fears that given the current economic situation of the country, the people will continue to feel the effect of a government struggling to respond to a growing demand for basic services.

In the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) of 2008, data shows that 8 out of 10 births are done outside a health facility in rural areas.  And in ARMM for example where 53% of women have only reached primary education, NDHS data also show that among women in ARMM who have reached primary education, 9 out 10 birth deliveries where done by traditional birth attendants (TBAs) or hilots.  Education and access to health are connected.

The Reproductive Health (RH) Bill is currently pending in both Houses of Congress and among the provisions is the improvement of health services through the deployment of more health professionals like midwives in the rural areas, increase budgetary support for family planning, health facilities upgrading and support to local government units among others
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