89,468,677 — quite a big number to imagine. Sadly, this number does not represent the additional budget for our impoverished Filipinos. This number is the current population estimate of the Philippines. What’s worse, it is steadily increasing with an estimated growth rate of 1.8%. With a population density of 292 (persons/sq. km.), it is no question why our country is struggling for its survival. And no, it is not just because of the unsettled battle between the government’s “Two-Child Policy” Bill and the Church’s “Pro-life” stand on population control.
In trying to understand the country’s population boom, we need to know more about the factors that contribute to its occurrence. One of which is how society perceives sex. To delve into this further, let us focus on one of the most influential factors in society–the media. Westernized and liberated, there seems to be no such thing as taboo with the media anymore, unlike decades ago when sex was not openly talked about.
Not all Filipinos are fortunate enough to enjoy the privilege of acquiring good education, but the media has made itself mass-oriented for the easy accessibility of the people, whether above or below the poverty line. Thus, the media plays a very important role in molding how society thinks and feels about or reacts to certain social issues. With its great power to shape our minds, the media must be careful with the message it sends out to the people, especially the youth, regarding sex. However, this does not seem to be the case in our society today.
Seeing adolescents and young adults endorsing condoms packaged in such a way that the youth is the target market is truly alarming. What is even worse, the condoms are associated with partying and having fun. Another scenario would be the featured articles on certain magazines available in the market today. I must say that offering sex tips for couples in a magazine not intended for married ones is already too much. These types of media content assume that modern Filipino men and women engage in premarital sex. It seems like pre-marital sex is regarded as a normal, no-big-deal issue the youth faces everyday.
What does overpopulation have to do with these? We can relate this to how unwanted pregnancies and irresponsible sex contribute to the growing population. Fitting in, joining the bandwagon, or however you want to call it, the messages the media sends out trigger the curiosity of the youth–“Everybody’s doing it, why not me?” Conservatism is now a thing of the past. A big part of the youth is pressured in trying to conform with what is cool–rather, what they think is cool, as dictated by the media. I think that the media, holding a great influencing power, must then be cautious of the effects of their statements and endorsements.
With this, we realize the extent of the media’s power in molding our minds and making decisions in our actions. Instead of promoting sex, why not use the media’s power in effective information dissemination if we want our countrymen to understand the growing problem of overpopulation of the Philippines. It is a complex problem that needs to be addressed immediately, since the factors contributing to it stem out to form an intricate web of even more complicated problems.
Solving this problem is not easy as 1-2-3. However, I firmly believe if we begin to take baby steps towards reaching our goal, we might just make a big difference. Who knows, the number 89,468,677 might someday be just a memory.
Cara Louise Adajar, 17, is a college sophomore taking up BS Management Engineering.