The population issue - now passé elsewhere in the developing world, even in the poorer countries - remains a durable puzzle in the Philippines. On the one hand, a majority of Filipinos regard rapid population growth as an impediment to socioeconomic development, requiring policy intervention; on the other hand, virtually nothing is being done about it as the government appears immobilized owing to opposition from the conservative Catholic Church hierarchy. Central to the population issue are the negative externalities that sustained high fertility brings to bear on economic growth, the environment, inequality and poverty. These externalities plus the fact that women, particularly in poor households, are having more children than their desired number, as repeatedly shown by surveys, constitute strong grounds for an unambiguous population policy. Population is evidently a public interest issue that the national government must address squarely objection from some religious groups notwithstanding.