Baby’s timing leads to gifts

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


WHEN Kyle Olendang is old enough, his parents will have quite the story to tell him about his birthday.

The boy, born at 12:44 a.m. last Sunday in Cebu City, is one of several babies whose births brought the country’s population to 100 million.

The Commission on Population (Popcom) in Central Visayas congratulated Olendang’s parents during a visit to the government-run Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

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Olendang weighed around 2.8 kilograms.

Dr. Caroline Tabaloc, the attending physician, said that the baby was delivered normally, even though his mother’s blood pressure increased just before she gave birth.

Catalino and Josephine Olendang, both from Barangay Lamac, Pinamungahan, received a visit yesterday morning from Popcom 7 Director Bruce Ragas, a lawyer.

As one of the “100 millionth babies”, Kyle will receive a newborn starter kit worth P5,000 and will also be entitled to a lifetime membership with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth).

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Dr. Geraldo Aquino, VSMMC chief, said the hospital will also shoulder all of the medical expenses incurred during Kyle’s birth.

Aside from Kyle, some infants born in different parts of the region around the same time will receive similar benefits.

Based on the mechanics set by Popcom, the search for the “100 millionth baby” was open to all infants born at 12:06 a.m. or minutes later in a health facility run by the national government or a local government unit.

All facilities that participate in the search must be certified as observing the Philippine Standard Time and the birth must be certified by a doctor or a birth attendant.

Only babies born through normal spontaneous delivery are qualified.

Kyle’s mother said she hopes that her son will grow up appreciating the special circumstances of his birth. His father, who is a construction worker, hopes his son will grow up to be an engineer.

Opportunity

Ragas told reporters that Kyle’s birth brings up two things: that the country is growing rapidly every year and the National Government must meet the demands of a growing population with its limited resources.

“Yes, there is an opportunity seen with a growing population, but our government is also challenged to consider this factor in planning for the development of our country,” Ragas said.

Less than 24 hours after the country’s 100 millionth baby was born, President Benigno Aquino III reported in his State of the Nation Address that from the first half of 2012 to the same months in 2013, the poverty incidence dropped by three percentage points, from 27.9 to 24.9 percent.

“These three percentage points are equivalent to 2.5 million Filipinos who have crossed the poverty line,” the President said.

President Aquino signed into law the Reproductive Health Bill in late 2012, but its implementation was stalled after several groups challenged it before the Supreme Court (SC).

Last April, the SC voided some provisions of the long-delayed law—including the proviso that would have punished public employees who refused to implement the program—but much of the law was upheld as being consistent with the Constitution.

According to the National Statistical Coordination Board, the country’s population growth rate has slowed down from 2.05 percent in 2000-2005, to 1.95 percent in 2005-2010 and to a projected 1.82 percent in 2010-2015.

Despite that, the Philippines is believed to be among the 13 most populous countries in the world, according to the CIA World Fact Book, and joins Indonesia as the only two Southeast Asian countries in the top 13.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 30, 2014.

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