The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) held the Roundtable Discussion on Demographic Dividend and Employment on November 24, at Hotel Jen Manila. The RTD was organized by the Social Sciences Division (SSD) through Academician Arsenio M. Balisacan, focal person of the RTD and the government’s Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority.
The RTD focused on human capital as the most significant resource of our country as well as the concepts “demographic sweet spot” and “demographic dividend”. Demographic Dividend is the decline in a country’s birth and death rates and change in the age structure of the population that will result in accelerated economic growth. This will cause the decline of a country’s young dependent population,making room for rapid economic growth while the demographic sweet spot is the period where optimal numberof the country’s population would be in the working age and have few dependents.
Ms. Jessamyn O. Encarnacion, director of the Philippine Statistics Authority-Makati, discussed information about the country’s population projection, which utilized cohort-component method and other means of population change such as births, deaths, and migration. Based on the 2010 Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 3.125 children per woman, population is expected to grow to more than 142 million in 2045 even if there will be a decrease in the population growth rate from 1.73 percent in 2010–2015 to 0.65 percent in 2040–2045. Likewise, dependency ratio, defined as the ratio of dependents to the working age population, is also expected to decrease from 61.13 in 2010 to 48.15 in 2045.
Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez III, executive director of the Commission on Population (POPCOM), discussed the demography aspect of the demographic dividend. Dr. Perez enumerated the stages of the Demographic Transition Model and stated that ‘demographic sweet spot’ will happen when these three events happens simultaneously: decrease in dependency ratio, increase in proportion of a productive working age, and when fertility declines.
The Roundtable Discussion (RTD) on Linking Agriculture and Food Systems to Non-Communicable diseases was held last November 20, 2014 at Hotel Jen Manila. The RTD was organized by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) through its Agricultural Sciences Division (ASD).
This RTD was conducted in preparation for the upcoming Annual Scientific meeting (ASM) on July 8-9, 2015 which will focus on Non-Communicable Diseases. National Scientist Dolores A. Ramirez, member of the ASD, provided the objectives of the RTD, which were to 1) discuss research-based information about the links between food habit and non-communicable diseases; 2) discuss research-based information about possibilities for intensification, integration and diversification in Philippine Agriculture to meet the needs for balanced human nutrition; and 3) propose ways to improve the eating habits of the Filipino masses to reduce incidence of non-communicable diseases.
Academician Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., focal person of the RTD and executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), gave an overview of how agriculture and food systems can be linked to NCDs. According to Acd. Rasco, like communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases are also traceable to agriculture. They call these diseases the “diseases of civilization” because studies show that there is a relationship between the new food brought by agriculture and the new diseases that emerged. Similarly, the new food system, which is known as “Industrial farming” employed for cheap, fast, and convenient food, is also responsible for those diseases. Other factors affecting the health of Filipinos are the increasing rice consumption, which accounts for 119 kilos per capita, per year; and the preference for rice with high glycemic index or the white rice.
“There is a need for a policy to address the needs of the persons with rare diseases”, said Acd. Carmencita Padilla. during the Roundtable Discussion (RTD) on Rare Diseases last October 30, 2014 at Traders Hotel, Manila. The RTD was organized by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) through its Health Sciences Division (HSD).
The scenario of rare diseases in the country was reviewed on a global and local scale by Dr. Mary Anne Chiong, a biochemical geneticist from the National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila. According to Dr. Chiong, the definitions of rare diseases vary depending on the number of incidences in a country. Globally, 350 individuals are diagnosed with rare diseases. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), orphan disorders, another name used to refer to rare diseases, occur in 6.5-10 out of 10,000 population.
It is estimated that there are more than 7,000 different types of orphan disorders. In her presentation, the country’s situation and challenges in caring for these patients were assessed. She identified the challenges as delay in diagnosis, misdiagnosis, limited and high-cost of scientific treatment, and the social and emotional burden on patients and family with rare diseases.
Mr. Juan Benedicto K. Magdaraog, a patient with Pompe Disease, also served as a speaker. He shared his life with Pompe disease and the rare disease’s impact on his childhood, his well-being, as well as on his dreams and aspirations. He shared his story of overcoming many limititations and moving forward despite Pompe. Mr. Magdaraog, also called “Dickoy”, expressed his will to “change how people perceive people with rare diseases”. He is a graduate of a degree in Industrial Design from College of Saint Benilde, De La Salle University and is currently working as a front-end web designer of an IT company.