Only 3 regions reap economic dividends from population management

MANILA, Philippines — Only three of the country’s 17 regions are poised to reap the benefits of “economic dividends”, according to the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom).

Citing a presentation by Professor Michael del Mundo of the University of the Philippines, PopCom said that only the National Capital Region (NCR), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) are likely to gain socially and economically. benefits from successful population management efforts.

Based on Del Mundo’s report, PopCom said that a large majority of regions in the country lag far behind in achieving certain criteria, particularly the local support ratio to gain economic benefits.

Del Mundo said Zamboanga Peninsula, Western Visayas, Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) “have a number relatively higher number of efficient consumers compared to the number of efficient workers.

He added that the Philippines needs to improve some socio-economic prerequisites before their window of opportunity closes soon.

For the population expert, the country may miss the desired condition altogether if it fails to address critical issues.

To benefit from the potential demographic dividend, Del Mundo explained that the country must accelerate the demographic transition in order to create a wide and long window of demographic opportunity and capitalize on the potential economic gains of this window by guaranteeing economic opportunities for the population.

He observed several challenges among the regions that have similarities, but with varying magnitudes.

“Lagging regions have high fertility rates, whether the births were planned or not. Most regions also face low youth participation in the labor force and employment, as well as a significantly lower number of women in the labor force compared to men. Lack of highly skilled labor is also a trend, in addition to labor income below the national average,” PopCom said, citing Del Mundo.

“While it is necessary to reduce fertility and mortality rates, they will not be enough, because achieving the demographic dividend is not just about population dynamics,” Del Mundo said.

He added that ensuring economic opportunities for Filipinos means workers are healthy and properly educated, and their skills are well suited to their jobs.

No demographic dividend will be possible without economically productive workers, according to the UP professor.

“To take full advantage of the demographic window of opportunity, the labor force participation rate and the employment rate of men and women, and especially young people, must be maintained at a high level, and this income labor must also be sufficient for workers to have savings and investments that ultimately lead to upward economic mobility for households,” he explained.

For young people, he said, there is also a need to create better conditions in the labor and employment market.

Financial literacy, financial inclusion and increased income opportunities are also prerequisites for improving savings accumulation.

Del Mundo said key policy reforms and effective policy implementation must be achieved through a whole-of-government approach to harness the benefits brought by the demographic transition.

Meanwhile, PopCom Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III stressed the importance of putting the poor and vulnerable at the center of development strategies.

Perez said the Philippines’ development plan, which deals with achieving demographics, will prioritize regional equity among the four pillars that will help the country achieve rapid and more inclusive growth, which also cover infrastructure. technologies, innovation and climate change mitigation and adaptation. .

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