MANILA (DPA) – The Philippines' population reached an estimated 100 million Sunday, a milestone that officials said illustrated the need to provide basic services for more people.
"We have 100 million people in this country who need services," said Juan Antonio Perez, executive director of the Commission on Population. "Hopefully the government will be able to deliver."
The United Nations Population Fund said the milestone also presents an opportunity to push for better reproductive health services and more investments for education and health to eradicate poverty.
"There is a need to respond to the rights and needs of young people by providing them with education, job opportunities, and life skills including appropriate information about their sexuality," said Klaus Beck, country representative of the UN agency.
An estimated 54 per cent of the Philippine population is under the age of 25.
Efforts to control the population growth rate, one of the fastest in Asia, have been hampered by opponents of birth control.
In April, the Supreme Court upheld a law mandating the government to provide free contraceptives to the poor, after a decades-long debate and opposition by the Catholic Church.