February 5, 2023

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Investing in the young will pave the way to achieving demographic dividend through strengthening and adopting appropriate policies.
This was the highlight of a policy forum on the issue on demographic dividend that focuses on the young people who will soon be taking the lead in shaping the future.
The forum was spearheaded by the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) with the Sulong RH Project involving six areas, including Benguet and Ifugao in the Cordillera.
Dr. Vicente B. Jurlano, national programme officer of the Population and Development United Nations Population Fund, defined demographic dividend as a saving and investment opportunity when households have fewer children to take care of.
It is equated to economic growth having ripple effects that can be achieved if there is change in the structure of country’s population as a result of fall in fertility and mortality rates and increase in working population’s productivity.
In the Philippines, “We are already in the stage but need to do better and the most important aspect in pursuing this is through political power,” Jurlano said.
“We need to come up with policies,” he said.
It starts with investing on young people.
In making these happen, policies should be in place in various stages. In the person’s life cycle, Jurlano said there should be policies in every phase such as early childhood development, child survival, and universal/quality education.
An existing policy which needs to be strengthened is on teenage pregnancy and additional policies to strengthen pensions.
In the transition from school to work, there has to be programs to maintain skills, build additional skills, job search, professional development, personal development, community service, and family life, he added.
Policies per sector should also be in place such as employment, education, health, and empowerment.
Jurlano said the path to attaining demographic dividend is centered on the adolescent girls which starts from school to employment, reach adult marriage and have healthy children, security of place, work-life balance, with lifelong learning, to have wealth to be capable in investing in the child, and lastly, a secure old age.
Some key challenges in attaining the goal as presented by Commission on Population National Capital Region Director Lydio M. Español include slowing down of population growth based on Philippine Statistics 2010 records but the number of Filipinos is significantly increasing with almost two million per year.
There are also inequities in nutrition and health outcomes, uneven access to education and low completion rate, and high unemployment rate among youth, Español added. – Susan C. Aro