(PN file photo)

The Commission on Population and Development (CPD) said the Philippines still has a lot of time to prepare before it turns into an aging population by 2030.

USec. Lisa Grace Bersales said that even though there is already an increasing number of individuals ages 65 and above, the Philippines still has a large youth population.

“I was told that it will take another 30 years for us to really reach this stage of the path of Korea, but I need to check specifically kasi the Philippine Statistics Authority already released population projection. Doon natin makikita ‘yong situation na ito–Ang kagandahan sa atin, patungo na tayo doon pero ang we still have a lot of time, we still have time,” she said.

The commission is now studying the case of Thailand, which is now an aging society. Unlike other rich countries in regions of Europe and East Asia, Thailand became old before it became rich, she added.

The Thailand Development Research Institute said Thailand became a completely aged society in 2023 when its population of 14 million people aged 60 and older accounted for 20 percent of the total population. In the next 15 years, Thailand will become a super-aged society when an estimated 21 million older people will account for 30 percent of the total population.

Bersales said the Philippines experiences the impact of the aging of other countries through migration.

“Some of the best in us will be welcomed in those countries where they need more people, that is now a possible consequence of the aging of other countries. We are a sending country. Many of our migrants are laborers, meaning temporary–But a number of our migrants are immigrants, they become citizens of other countries, and they are the best of us,” she said.

Even though some rich countries are aging, they can provide social protection for older people, and the income of their countries is still high due to the quality of their workforce. In the Philippines, some of the older people are still dependent on their children and do not have a proper pension to live a comfortable life, Bersales said.

Drop in fertility rate
The commission observed that the speed of population growth in the Philippines is slowing down and the total fertility rate (TFR) in the country has dropped.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) revealed that the TFR of Filipino women aged 15 to 49 is now at 1.9 children, down from 2.7 children in 2017. It is the sharpest decline recorded in the TFR, said CPD.

The current trend is considered a development compared to the rate in the 1970s, which was six children per woman.

The survey also revealed that 1 in 2 currently married women said they no longer desire more children, while 17% want to delay their next childbirths for two or more years.

Although a downtrend in TFR has been observed and the country’s demographic can already be considered an aging population in 2030, Bersales said that the population of 14 years old and below is still growing, which prompts the need for local government units to “spend a lot for the children in their communities.”

“The Philippines is in the place where we need to talk about both. Both this issue of some of our population groups are still growing, and women have unmet needs,” she said.