The Filipino Family In Modern Society

The process of modernization is catching up with the Filipino family Change must occur if the family is to survive in a changing world the following discussion attempts to analyze the factors of change and their probable effects.

The Size of the Family In spite of family planning programs and education efforts promoted over the country, more children than would be justified by a concern for ending population growth. In spite of the economic difficulties of bringing up children, their birth is welcomed; they are considered "Gifts from God" sent to help their parents obtain a better life through filial love, participation in income generating activities, "insurance" for their parents" old age, and sources of strengthening family bonds.

The typical family today averages five children, although three to four (urban) and four to five (rural) are considered many parents as the ideal family size.

Population projections indicate the need to limit the number of children to one. The population of the Philippines as of 1985 is estimated at 54 978 742. If the present trend continues, the population may rise to around 73 million by the year 2000 which is not very far away. In the light of this demographic information family planning becomes necessary. It has become the responsibility of the state to achieve and maintain population levels most conducive to the national welfare and measures along this line have been made in practice and in law. The Labor Code of the Philippines requires employers who employ more than 200 workers in any locality to provide family planning services for their employees and spouses (Section 11, Rule VII book III of Implementing Rules). In addition, the Department of Labor is to develop and prescribe incentive bonus schemes to encourage family planning and maternity benefits are given to women employees only for the first four pregnancies (Article 31 and 32). Income tax deduction for minor children is limited to four.

The social values of the people are a strong deterrent to children and spacing births in Philippine society, a couple is expected to have children; in not having children the bus population band is subject to taunts and teasing as mahina (slow) or baog (sterile) and lacking in machismo. Having children is the fulfillment of manhood and womanhood. Sons are preferred to daughters because sons assure the continuance of the family name and provide better support for their parents in old age. A couple with only daughters will try to have children until they have a son. If the first-born is a son, the family has suwerte (luck).

One rather grim bit of evidence on the importance of limiting family size comes from a study of nutrition in Misamis Oriental. This study showed that a large family was the greatest enemy of adequate nutrition. The study found that size of family was the best indication of whether or not the diet would be adequate. The large family had inadequate diets and size of family was an even greater influence than either income or occupation!