The following is an excerpt from an article by Mercedes B. Concepcion in the Philippine Population Review (PPR) Volume 6 Number 1 (2007) issue. Read the full version here.

The Beginnings

history-drawing.pngletter-i.pngn early 1955, Dr. Philip M. Hauser, founder of the University of Chicago’s Population Research Center, one of the world’s leading centers for the study of demography, visited the Philippines upon the invitation of Dr. Meredith B. Givens, Principal Statistical Advisor, University of the Philippines Statistical Training Centre (UPSTC). He addressed the members of the Philippine Statistical Association at one of its monthly meetings. I was then a Research Assistant, the first Filipino to have been appointed to the UPSTC’s research staff upon my arrival from training in Biostatistics in Australia on a Colombo Plan fellowship. A few months later I met Dr. Hauser again, this time at the Seminar on Population Problems of Asia and the Far East organized by the United Nations (UN) in Bandung, Indonesia in November 1955. Historically, it was the first seminar on the subject of population organized by the UN.

The seminar was the first to focus attention on increasing population trends within the region covered by the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE), now Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The seminar participants realized that the rising population growth rates largely negated or probably even retarded the effects of national socio-economic programs that provided an environment conducive to lowering birth rates. An important outcome of the seminar was a recommendation that the UN take the initiative in setting up a regional demographic training and research centre in the ECAFE region. Consequently, the Demographic Training and Research Centre (DTRC) was established in 1956 at Chembur, Bombay, India. The Centre was jointly operated by UN and the Government of India. Its first Diector was Dr. C. Chandrasekaran.

In November 1962, the Ford Foundation sent out a population survey mission to East and Southeast Asia composed of Dr. Hauser, Dr. Dudley Kirk and Dr. Oscar Harkavy of the Economic Affairs Program of the Ford Foundation. The mission visited the Philippines to look into the feasibility of establishing a demographic center or a population institute at UP. Dr. Virata, then Acting Director of the UPSTC, was very receptive to the idea, provided that the University be given time to train a number of people for the work to be undertaken and provided further that it receive sufficient financial support both from the Philippine government and from outside sources such as UN and private foundations. He promised the mission members that during the ensuing year he would try to assess how long it would take the University to carry out the preparatory steps in order that a population institute be established in the Manila campus or in Diliman. Dr. Virata’s optimism in UP’s ability to establish a population institute, provided sufficient financial support was available, was due to the fact that the country