UN Warns Leaders of Urban Slums problem.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Manila Bulletin, October 14, 2002 | Go to article overview

UN Warns Leaders of Urban Slums problem.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)


THE convulsive urban slums problem which has been gnawing at the roots of our cities' social structure could burst in due time if the government continually fails to demonstrate its determination to solve it at all cost.

The United Nations Human Settlements Program has named Metro Manila as one of the 12 mega cities in Asia with serious population problems.

It is aligned with the populous cities of Bombay, Tokyo, Calcutta, Shanghai, Dhaka, Karachi, New Delhi, Jakarta, Osaka, Beijing, and Cairo.

***

They are mega cities, so-called because of their population which exceed 10 million people.

Rising population growth and rapid migration from the provinces have been blamed for the urban slums problem.

These are, of course, old issues but they give fresh relevance to the promise of good governance by the Arroyo administration.

Good governance, after all, starts with policies that respond to the needs of the people - the ability to perceive deeply and widely what is for the public good.

***

The country's growing population has long been a national concern and it continues to disturb those who believe that population is a vital component of development strategy.

The problem is that family planning has become almost a disreputable phrase, rendering less effective its advocacy to lower birth rates.

But the main difficulty is that population policies are too often confused with family planning, according to the late Rafael M. Salas, former Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (now the UN Population Fund).

***

Family planning, he said, should be regarded as a service within an overall population policy, taking into consideration such factors as demographic patterns, fertility levels, social and economic conditions, religious tradition, and cultural heritage.

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