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Population control won’t fix unemployment — expert

An economist scored the Duterte administration yesterday for intending  to curb population growth to address the national job problem.
Dr. Bernardo Villegas, an official of the University of Asia and the Pacific (formerly Center for Research and Communication), said cutting down population through  contraceptives is not the answer to poverty.
In his lengthy speech recently  before select business journalists, the economists said no less than the late Lee Kuan Yew, the longtime president of Singapore, had remorses when he ordered families to be mindful about the number of babies they would have.
“We should not blame the unborn babies about poverty,” the economist said.
Yew, he said, admitted in several interviews that curbing population is one of the mistakes the leader made during his lengthy rule of the tiny island nation.
Instead of controlling population, Villegas said the national government should invest more on education and other supporting factors like farm-to-market roads and potable water so people won’t  feel shortchanged.
“Population is definitely not the answer,” he added.
Villegas said what the country needs are more investments both from local and foreign sources.
He urged that big businessmen, led by Manny Pangilinan, Enrique Razon and San Miguel Corp., invest more so the government need not to resort to drastic measures in order to manage the economy.
Observers, however, see that Villegas’ affiliation with a conservative group, Opus Dei, has affected his argument about population control.
“They are known to be conservatives. Don’t expect him to support liberal ideas,” said one veteran public relations personality.   
The Philippine Statistics Office projected the Philippine population to expand to 110 million. More than 60 percent of the Philippines’ 102 million people are aged 30 and below, which is the average working age.
This is why majority of the unemployed are working age, according to observers.
The Philippines has the second largest population among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) behind Indonesia.
However, the land area of the Philippines (299,000 square kilometers) is only a fraction of its neighbor.                    

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