RH Scam and the PH Government’s 21st Century Plantation
With the quiet, “without fanfare” passage of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law, the Aquino administration effectively widened the scope of the country’s 21st century plantation. With increasing unemployment and dependency rates, higher budget deficit and more unsustainable welfare programs, poverty has become a very lucrative business for the government and a money-making venture for corrupt politicians and their cronies.
In the Philippines, higher poverty rates means more opportunity for the government to expand its welfare/political powers. With more and more poor and unemployed Filipinos on the dole, the Aquino regime appears to have been empowered to issue new political measures to combat the nation’s most stubborn ‘enemy’: poverty.
This is why our welfare trapoliticians recently passed the RH law and sought to widen the membership and insurance coverage of the PhilHealth program. The Aquino regime also promised to guarantee every Filipino’s right to what it calls “universal healthcare” in spite of the fact that it currently confronts higher budget deficit, lower investment and a weak economy.
What millions of Filipinos don’t understand is that more welfare means more government expenditure. More government expenses means higher budget deficit and more empowered government to tax the people or to use force against those who produce wealth, goods and services.
It’s no coincidence that the government had recently passed the “sin tax” bill described by the chain-smoking president as an “early Christmas gift for millions of Filipinos who will be covered by the universal health care program, who will benefit from new public clinics and hospitals that will be built, and who will be discouraged from smoking and drinking.”
To increase the government’s revenue collection, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) now targets online traders/sellers. To RH bill supporters, you think the RH bill and the passage of an expanded sin tax law as well as the BIR’s determination to target online sellers are not in any way related? Think again. Ideas and political policies have consequences. You might not feel the negative effects of the RH law in the coming months, but it certainly has a long-term impact on your rights and on the nation’s economy as a whole.
Faced with more welfare programs and expenses, the government has to get more money to finance all its altruistic goals. Anyways, the President needs to boost his popularity/approval ratings. Like a traditional haciendero, he needs to look more charismatic to his little peasants.
This regime has to look for more effective ways to tax the people and to pass the burden to certain people or sectors.
The passage of the RH law indeed reveals the degree of intellectual bankruptcy in these parts. It also reveals how easy it is for a potential tyrant to gain coercive, totalitarian political power.
To help the poor and destitute women, the RH law employs the following coercive methods:
- The power of taxation. Although the law, otherwise known as Republic Act No. 10354 or the “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012″, is silent on the issue of taxation, it follows that the government is justified to use this ‘state power’ to achieve its welfare/RH goals. For how can the government finance all the measure’s objectives, including the government agencies, offices and LGUs directly responsible for the delivery of RH services, without resorting to taxation? This is why the government had expanded the existing sin tax law and needs to target online traders and perhaps other potential tax sources/options.
- The government has to use force/compulsion against certain people/sectors, such as employers and healthcare providers. Yes, the government promises to serve the welfare of the poor at the expense of employers and doctors. To provide RH services to its intended beneficiaries, the government has to violate/negate religious (or Catholic or protestant) hospitals’ and religious people’s freedom of conscience and of religion. See? This means that those who passed and supported the bill somehow knew (but many of them are too ignorant to understand this self-evident truth) that there’s no such thing as “free” RH care or services. That the government had to use force against those who make wealth and services possible: employers and healthcare providers.
This government-mandated RH issue is not that difficult to understand. However, millions of Filipinos who don’t understand basic concepts and take universal principles for granted supported the RH measure because of their distorted view of reality and morality.
Take for example the following analogy:
A statist lawmaker introduces a bill, say, Housing for All Act of 2013, that would provide “free” and/or government-discounted housing products to millions of homeless Filipinos. The lawmaker argues that the State, under Art. XIII, Sections 1, 2, 9 and 10 of the 1987 Constitution, has the power to “protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities”. This proposal seeks to empower several government agencies or offices, such as the National Housing Authority (NHA), DSWD, DILG, among others, and its intended beneficiaries shall be determined through the NHTS-PR by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or any subsequent system used by the national government in identifying the poor.
However, the proposed pro-poor (really?! the socialists have to use popular slogans like this one to fool the people) legislation seeks to employ the following methods to help the country’s homeless:
- Mobilization or empowerment of the aforementioned government agencies or offices.
- The NHA will be given more budget and powers to ensure the provision of free and low-cost housing.
- The government may tax certain industries or companies. Taxes may be levied against industries or companies that cause pollution or emit substances that destroy (???) the environment.
- Employers will be forced to enter into collective bargaining agreement with their workers for the partial funding of the employees’ homes.
- All real-estate companies or any businesses engaged in the provision of housing and/or condominiums will be forced to lower the prices of their products at government-mandate discounted prices.
- Opponents of the measure will be branded as anti-poor, pro-elite and anti-progress.
The analogy or example given above has all the trappings, principles and methods of the new RH law. To guarantee or serve some other people’s rights, the government has to resort to ‘legal’ force. This is, in fact, a wholesale, blatant, institutionalized bastardization of the proper concept of rights. This simply means that you are deprived of your right to something if the government does not fund or “guarantee” it.
The proper concept of rights is at stake here, for a right determines the degree of government power/authority (meaning its proper role), the liberty and happiness of the individual, and the difference between freedom and oppression. This is why the French founders, who penned the French Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen, believed that “ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man are the sole cause of public calamities and of the corruption of governments”.
Section 2 of R.A. 10354 (Declaration of Policy) provides: “The State recognizes and guarantees the human rights of all persons including their right to equality and nondiscrimination of these rights, the right to sustainable human development, the right to health which includes reproductive health, the right to education and information, and the right to choose and make decisions for themselves in accordance with their religious convictions, ethics, cultural beliefs, and the demands of responsible parenthood.”
The question is: What is the proper concept of a “right”? How does the government recognize or guarantee people’s “rights”?
A “right” simply means a right to action or freedom of action in a social context. You are free to pursue your goals, actions or decisions as long as you refrain from violating the rights of others. Rights only pertain to human beings, as they posses rational faculty to know right from wrong. We humans are not perceptual animals; we are conceptual beings, and this is that makes us distinct or different from other animals or living things.
But what is the role of government with respect to man’s rights? The government’s proper role is only to protect rights against criminals, rights-violators or state agents.
As stated here:
A right does not require government funding. Our right to free speech does not necessitate the allocation of government budget to guarantee people’s freedom of expression and of the press. This is why that disgusting, mediocre Right of Reply Bill should be killed outright because it imposes obligation or burden on others (e.g., publishers, journalists, newspaper and media companies, bloggers, etc.) The religionists’ right to practice religion does not require government funding or special treatment. In fact, the freedom of religion is a limitation on state authority to prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion. Unfortunately, only a few people, particularly the atheists and theists, understand this.
However, according to the RH law’s proponents, poor people and women are deprived of their RH rights because they don’t have “access” to RH services. Access here simply means the government has to provide said
services to poor people for “free” or force employers and doctors to make the same available to their workers or RH beneficiaries.
If you still can’t understand the madness/scam behind the newly passed RH law, consider the following statements:
- Currently the government does not provide us food, does this mean we are deprived of our right to food?
- Many employers or companies do not provide their employers/workers with free rice or medicines, does this mean they deprive their employees of their right to life?
- Thousands or millions of Filipinos are homeless, does this mean they’re currently deprived of their right to home or property? Should the government provide them free housing? Should it force property owners to surrender/give some of their land property to homeless people?
But some of you must be asking: How about the discriminatory practices with respect to provision of RH services?
First, what constitutes discriminatory practices? Do we have cases of “discriminatory practices” that justify the passage of the measure? The law says: “The State shall eradicate discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of reproductive health rights.” The problem with that statement is, the term “discriminatory practices” is just an exaggerated, sensationalized problem.
To end this seemingly made-up problem, the government only has to allow foreign investors to build and operate private hospitals as well as foreign doctors or healthcare providers to practice their profession in the country. However, this requires constitutional change, because the current charter is filled with protectionist, regulative provisions and policies.
The law also wants LGUs “to hire an adequate number of nurses, midwives and other skilled health professionals for maternal health care and skilled birth attendance to achieve an ideal skilled health professional-to-patient ratio taking into consideration DOH targets”. So, local government units may also run and operate clinics or even health care centers to make RH services accessible to people and to perhaps help provide jobs. Very interesting indeed.
However, consider the following issues/questions:
- Do LGUs have the competence, professional expertise and skills to run and manage clinics and health centers?
- Where will the government get the money to achieve this goal?
- Will this not encourage more corruption at the local levels?
- How can politicians accuse private clinics and hospitals of ‘overpricing’ or charging unreasonable prices when the government directly competes with them?
Without a doubt, the new law also turns the government into a multi-billion peso medical employer. But always remember that in the government sector, where there’s money, there’s corruption.
Another issue that our lawmakers failed to consider is the issue of medical brain drain.
Yes, our lawmakers can/may pass tons of new laws and measures to solve certain social or economic problems (but can they?). Well, that’s actually what most of our lawmakers believe– that they can legislate our way out of poverty.
The problem is, our highly schooled lawmakers can’t create wealth from nothing. They can’t also legislate new doctors and new employers into existence. Doctors or healthcare providers don’t grow naturally on trees.
Our politicians should be alarmed that an ongoing medical brain drain might threaten their universal healthcare lunacy. Yes, President Aquino may declare on paper that the Philippines is a universal healthcare zone, but: does he have enough doctors and healthcare providers to help implement his socialistic plan?
There’s an ongoing exodus of thousands of professionals trained in science and technology (S&T). A Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) report reveals that the number of S&T professionals who left the country for overseas jobs rose from 9,877 in 1998 to 24,502 in 2009. Take note that the figures pertain only to new hires or those leaving the country for jobs for the first time.
Filipino professionals who are leaving the country include physicists, chemists, mathematicians, statisticians, computing professionals, engineers, life science professionals, health professionals (except nurses), and nurses and midwives.
From this source:
The study found that nurses and midwives represented the biggest group with an average of 9,348 deployed yearly, or 60 percent of the total S&T average of 15,555.
Engineers comprised the second-biggest group, averaging 4,117 yearly, or 26 percent of the total outflow of S&T manpower. Other health professionals including medical doctors accounted for the third-largest group with an average of 1,426 yearly, or 9.2 percent of the lot.
“On the average, women accounted for about 60 percent of the annual [S&T] deployment,” the BLES report said. “The proportion of women has been rising over time—50.3 percent in 1998 to 57.8 percent in 2009.”
The top 10 destinations for these professionals were Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, United States, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Qatar and Taiwan.
We don’t need statistics and studies to know and prove that thousands of doctors, nurses and midwives, given the chance and the right opportunities, would leave this impoverished, protectorate country to work in economically freer nations that offer higher wages and allow them to practice their professions.
Now here’s what we can do: list the names of doctors and nurses who strongly supported the passage of the RH bill. Since they fought for this measure, they should stay and be part of the President’s universal healthcare program.
Also, here’s what millions of college schooled Filipinos don’t know: Our Constitution currently bans all foreign professionals (doctors, engineers, nurses, etc.) from working or practicing their respective professions in the Philippines, when Filipino professionals are allowed to practice theirs in many countries such as those already mentioned above.
We are, in fact, in breach of the established principle of reciprocity in international law. This is one of the reasons why this country is poor. Many progressive Asian countries understand the value or importance of attracting foreign intellectuals, professionals, scientists and investors to be part of their team.
Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew followed in America’s immigration footsteps to build his city-state’s economy. Consider what Lee Kuan Yew (in his interview with Charlie Rose) about their and America’s openness to foreign professionals and investors:
“It’s not just American talent that gets you here. You’re just 300 million people and they have 1,300 million and very many more able people.
“But you are attracting all the adventurous minds from all over the world and embracing them, and they become part of your team.
“Now I don’t see two million Indians and half a million other peoples, Japanese, Koreans, and others, becoming part of China. I mean, first the language is so difficult. Secondly, the culture is not embracing. How do you fit in?”
Like I said many times before, the government cannot possibly solve poverty or people’s poor access to RH services without properly fixing the economy. By proper I mean doing the right thing. That is, the government cannot fix the economy without dismantling the current charter, securing individual rights and economic freedom, and adopting limited government and federalism.
Welfare politics doesn’t create wealth. In fact, unsustainable welfare state was proven very destructive to global economies (read recent studies on the danger or crisis of welfare state here, here, here, here, and here.)
With more welfare programs such as the RH law, universal healthcare program, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, among many others, this poor, protectionist nation will undoubtedly face more crises and soci0economic problems in the future:
- Fiscal crisis due to unsustainable welfare programs/policies, high budget deficit, poor investment, low FDI, protectionist and anti-business regulations/policies.
- Debt crisis
- High budget deficit
- More taxes
- Brain drain
- Lower FDI and poor investment
- Higher unemployment
- More corruption (particularly RH-related corrupt practices)
Here’s my prediction: the RH Law will go down in Philippine history as one of the biggest political scams ever perpetrated by our welfare politicians.
A very recent report reveals that the Aquino regime’s borrowing increased at a faster rate, while its payment declined. As stated above, the government urgently needed more money to fund its welfare programs. One option, apart from taxation and printing of paper money, is debt. Yes, the President has to increase the nation’s debt to fund his programs and to boost his image.
From this source:
The government’s financing position in the 11 months to November showed a net borrowing of P477 billion, or about five times the P99.7 billion registered in the same period last year, according to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).
From January to November, the government borrowed more at a faster rate, while its payments declined, easing to a single-digit rate.
In the 11-month period, the government borrowed P852.7 billion—up by 70 percent year-on-year from P501.5 billion.
At the same time, the government settled P375.7 billion in obligations, which was 7 percent less than the P401.8 billion paid in the same period last year.
Treasury data showed that the issuance of P367.8 billion in retail treasury bonds, P66 billion in global bonds, and P391.1 billion in regular domestic bonds, accounted for the bulk of new government debt this year.
We expect more of this in the future…
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