In the 1960s, the Philippines was one of the world’s leading rice producers. Since then its population has more than doubled and the country can no longer feed itself. Not only has demand for food shot up, but farmland has been lost to development. This has put pressure on all the country’s basic life-support systems. It is felt most acutely by the poorest families.
While most of the countries in Southeast Asia have taken decisive action to slow population growth, the Catholic Church in the Philippines has resisted any form of population control. But some politicians are responding to a clamor among their constituents for family planning services.