A LAWMAKER warned Tuesday that the country’s galloping population is a “ticking time bomb” that could wreak widespread havoc especially on food sources five years from now, when the population is expected to reach 115 million from the present 95 million.

In a speech before the awarding ceremonies for the top councilors of the country by the Junior Chamber International Philippines, Senator Edgardo Angara said the number of 115 million is the limit of the carrying capacity of the country.

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He said the carrying capacity is the amount of available local resources that can sustain decent life for the Filipinos. “Beyond 115 million, we might not be able to carry on the business of government as well as the business of living,” he said. That is why this is a critical period.”

Angara, a former Agriculture secretary, said the rapid population increase is accompanied by the fast degradation of the environment, which further threatens resources.

“Our production is high that our forests, which used to be one of the most abundant in Southeast Asia, are down to about 40 percent of our land area,” he said. “That’s how bad our deforestation rate is and the result of deforestation is extensive because it destroys corals, it destroys soil and the roots.”

As a result, the lawmaker warned the country will see scarcity in food and water that, in case of drinking water, it might even be more expensive in 10 years than the commercial beverages.

He also pointed out, that Luzon, the country’s main island and where the largest concentration of population is located, might even run out of fresh water faster than other areas in the country because all the rainfall in Luzon just flows out into the sea.

“At that rate, our (Luzon’s) ground water is at risk,” Angara said. “If there is no water, there is no food.”

He noted that in the next six years experts and economists see a likelihood of a financial crisis, which could have adverse impact on housing as fund source would be scarce, due to unregulated use of credit cards.

Angara said that from now to 2016 is going to be critical period, which can be a turning point for the country. “We can become a successful nation, or we will become like Nigeria, which cannot govern itself.” (AH/Sunnex)