Praise for the Philippines’ large and young population, as well as emphasis on the need for training, were among the key points of a forum on “Population and Family: Positive Resources of Society,” organized by the Center for Research and Communication on February 3, 2016 at the UA&P Dizon Auditorium. The forum brought together educators, NGOs, and government officials to hear and exchange views with CRC’s Professorial Chair Holders and a professor of Law from the UA&P School of Law and Governance.

The speakers at the forum explored population and family from four perspectives. Dr. Antonio N. Torralba, Chair Holder of The Mariano and Estelita de Jesus Que Professorial Chair for Family and Youth Education discussed the results of a study on family life and youth lifestyles, conducted in preparation for the 2015 Synod on the Family.

Atty. Maria Concepcion S. Noche, Vice Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs of the School of Law and Governance, gave a presentation on legal efforts to ensure that contraceptives distributed by the government under the RH Law function as contraceptives only, and not as abortifacients.

Dr. Veronica Ramirez, Chair Holder of The BPI Professorial Chair for Migration and Overseas Filipino Work, discussed international trends of population decline and labor shortage, as well as the opportunities and challenges these present for OFWs.

Dr. Bernardo Villegas, Chair Holder of The Leo Parma/Asiapro Professorial Chair for Social Entrepreneurship, noted how the Philippines’ 50 million-strong working-age population—backed by 40 million children and adolescents—contributes to the country’s promising economic forecasts, both as a major ASEAN consumer market and as a mover behind the USD 20 billion-per-year Business Process Outsourcing industry.

While the speakers tended to be upbeat in discussing the situations faced by Filipino families, their talks highlighted training and education as crucial factors that could develop family members towards active participation in nation building. At present, many Filipino families have preserved their sense of God and of the sacred, as well as their cheerfulness and compassion. This is backed by a Constitution that “shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from the moment of conception” (Article II, Section 12). In addition, rising OFW remittances have improved family nutrition, health and education, as well as providing employment nationwide.

Access to education is key to employment opportunities, especially with English and specialized skills training in the Business Process Outsourcing sector. OFW Families Left Behind also need training in entrepreneurial development and investment so as to contribute to nation building.

The book Positive Dimensions of Population Growth by Dr. Bernardo Villegas was launched after the Forum. Featuring empirical findings, moral reflections, and anecdotes on Filipino families and the Philippines’ population, this latest version also has articles on the challenges of food security and ageing demographics, cultural trends, and celebrities who both oppose and espouse positive views on family and marriage.

Special guests at the Forum and Book Launch were former Associate Justice Roberto Abad, OWWA Director Albert Valenciano, Commission on Filipinos Overseas Usec. Mary Grace Tirona, Mayor Jose Enrique III and Mrs. Maria Isabel Garcia of Balanga City, Bataan, and Professorial Chair for Social Entrepreneurship grantor Mr. Leo and Mrs. Lu Parma. There were also guests from Alaska Milk Corp., Alliance for the Family Foundation Inc., Arellano University Pasig, CACHET, DepEd (Bulacan, Laguna, Marikina, Pasay, Pasig, and Tarlac City Divisions), DLSU Yuchengco Center, Far Eastern University Manila, Holy Angel University, La Salle College Antipolo, Letran Calamba, MICARS, PAREF Rosehill and Southridge, Philippine Migrant Rights Watch, PLDT, Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and Radio Veritas 846.


Image 1 – Atty. Amado Maralit poses a question to Atty. Noche in the Open Forum
Image 2 – Villegas and Mr. Mauro Blardony, Jr. at the book signing[/caption]