PopCom: Migration threatens Baguio-A A +A
Monday, March 4, 2013
BAGUIO City’s more than 318,676 population continues to grow not because family planning methods have faltered but because people decide to live in the regional educational and economic center.
Population Commission (PopCom) Regional Director Dr. Rosa Fortaleza bared this as she handed to Baguio officials Monday a copy of the fifth State of the Philippine Population Report.
Fortaleza said the migration factor remains a hindrance to the delivery of crucial basic services, ranging from food, water, shelter and power to health services and solid waste management for Baguio residents.
The PopCom director said that some 5,000 people are added to the city’s population yearly. According to the National Statistics Office’s (NSO) 2010 census, the city posted a 2.36 percent growth rate, which is higher than the 1.9 percent national growth rate.
From 252,386 residents living in the city in 2000, it has grown 66,290 residents in the past 10 years, the NSO reported.
Based on the NSO May 2010 census, Baguio City has one of the highest population densities in the country, with some 5,542 individuals occupying every square kilometer compared to some 4,389 individuals per square kilometer in 2000.
“We have noted that there is a fast growth in population not because of the people’s fertility but because of migration,” Fortaleza said.
Among the reasons, she cited, why most people prefer to reside in Baguio include education and work opportunities, environment and climate that sets the city apart from other places in the country.
But Fortaleza said this rapid migration poses risks to the city’s fast disappearing and meager natural resources.
Among problems she cited include the huge number of the population with no choice but to reside in areas long classified as unlivable.
With barely 57 square kilometers to occupy, Baguio residents have to stay in homes perched on top of sinkholes, active faults, and steep slopes and landslide-prone areas.
Another problem the local government needs to address is its growing solid waste management problems pegged at more than 160 tons of garbage daily.
Fortaleza said a growing population often affects the local government’s capacity to provide basic needs of its residents.
“For how long will the local government endure this growing population? The study will help the local government come up with strategies on how they can respond to this growing problem,” she said.
But the regional PopCom director pointed out migration is a constitutional right that all the more adds to the burden on how local officials deal with the problem.
The only solution the PopCom sees is to further educate migrant population, including those who plan to relocate in the city to become responsible so as not add to the burden of the local government in addressing its growing population.
With the youth comprising close to half of Baguio’s population, Fortaleza said they have to be educated on the repercussions of their acts that contribute to population growth due to teenage pregnancies.
She challenged local officials to come up with a local data to specify and identify the sectors affected by the rapid migration.
She also said local officials should step-up their efforts to address migration so as not to be affected by problems on local resources scarcity and its likely effects on the environment and in the over-all cultural and environmental charm of the city.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 05, 2013.