Did Anti-RH Bishop Garcera Actually Use the Word “Overpopulation”?
I simply ignored this viral Inquirer article the very first time I saw it on Facebook yesterday. However, just a few minutes ago (before actually writing and posting this piece) I gave that Facebook link a second look, as I was
continuously perplexed by how the news writer creatively used the word “overpopulation”.
That news article was titled “Overpopulation good for Filipinos, says bishop”. I thought normal people don’t actually talk like that. They don’t say: “overpopulation is beneficial to our country” or “overpopulation is awesome!”.
For example, economist blogger and Interaksyon opinion contributor Nonoy Oplas consistently argued in his anti-RH bill opinion pieces that big population should not be seen as a problem because people are assets. In this Interaksyon blog Oplas said: “A big population is often blamed as the cause of various human problems. This is ironic because the human species is the most intelligent and most innovative among the existing species in the planet. People are assets, not liabilities.”
A clueless reader or a pro-RH news writer with some sinister agenda might conclude that Oplas is pro-overpopulation for not being against lower population. In fact, any pro-RH bill freak who read some of my blogs might also accuse me of being pro-overpopulation because I reject the idea that the government must manage or control population.
So, I suspected the Inquirer writer must have over-sensationalized his story- or used the spin word “overpopulation”- to arouse controversy.
After reading the whole article the first word that came to my mind was: dishonest!
The Inquirer piece is a good example of an uber-sensationalized, tabloidized, editorialized story.
It’s because the bishop, Gilbert Garcera of the Diocese of Daet, never mentioned the word “overpopulation”. It’s Mr. Jonas Cabiles Soltes, the writer, who used it to perhaps create controversy or to put the bishop and his religion in a bad light.
Although I found some of Garcera’s comments to be a little bit wacky due to his religious rhetoric or premise. Again, let me remind my readers that I am a rabid atheist.
But what did bishop Garcera actually say?
Well, here are some of what he actually said that sound a little bit zany to me:
- Indirect quotation: “Garcera said the huge Philippine population could be part of “God’s plan for Filipinos to be caregivers to ageing nations whose populations had become stagnant.””
- Indirect attribution: “He also said many Filipino women would make “good wives” for foreigners in countries that have low population growth.”
- Direct quotation: “Filipinos have a big mission to the world. Every Filipino child born is a blessing to the world.” ;-)
- Direct quotation: “Filipinos have a duty to take care of them.” OK ;-)
- Direct quotation: “When you help poor people they help themselves too. This is the reason we have so many pedicab drivers, for instance. Everyone, when given the chance, will strive to earn a living.”
How about quotations or actual statements that show “overpopulation is good for Filipinos”?
Consider the following statements the bishop made:
- “Let’s look at the increase in our population in a more comprehensive sense.”
- “We should stop looking at poor people as a problem.”
Now those two quotations sound like what Mr. Oplas or any free market economist would approve. I also agree with what the bishop said. Will that make me an advocate of overpopulation?
There’s a big difference between the phrase “increase in our population” and overpopulation.” The first is a fact, because our population has ballooned to over 90 million despite our declining fertility and birth rates; the second is a myth. Overpopulation is plain BULLSHIT! This country is not overpopulated; some urban parts of the country are merely congested. For instance, there’s an ongoing congestion in Metro Manila due to our Imperial Manila or centralized system.
Soltes also wrote: “He said the problem in the country was neither overpopulation nor poverty but corruption and the unequal distribution of wealth.”
I think the bishop, if ever he used the word “overpopulation”, was just misunderstood. That the writer took Garcera’s statement out of context.
I also said almost the same thing a lot of times before, because the truth of the matter is, overpopulation is a myth.
In this blog article I stated:
“This country is NOT overpopulated. Many stupid pro-RH creatures think this country is “overpopulated” because it is poor! But this country is impoverished not because of so-called “overpopulation”, but because of its failed, repressive economic policies.”
Here I stated:
“Global and domestic indicators show that the most touted and most abused word in this RH bill debate— “overpopulation”— is indeed a BIG myth.”
Also here I wrote:
“Overpopulation is actually the best scapegoat that our corrupt, power-hungry politicians and their incompetent, anti-intellectual economic appointees could use to conceal, bury the simple fact that it’s the government’s protectionism, unsound/failed welfare and economic policies, and corruption that keep this country poor and impoverished.”
In other words, mere mention of the word “overpopulation” (if ever the Garcera actually mentioned it) doesn’t mean one also believes “overpopulation is good”. Sometimes people need to use their coconut shell…
Furthermore, observe that the word “overpopulation” was never stated in direct quotations, as the writer merely attributed it to the bishop. In other words, the writer simply put the word in question in the bishop’s mouth. In journalism, direct quotation and attribution are two different concepts.
Perhaps Soltes’ mind is just overpopulated with too much bias and irrational hatred of religion. Just sayin’…
To newspaper writers, please know these basic concepts: overpopulation, congestion, density, myth, and fact.
Now, all I can say is, the writer– and every pro-RH law opinion writer in these parts– should know the proper concept of “overpopulation”. When one talks about the advantage of a big population (most free market economists do this), that doesn’t mean he’s in favor of overpopulation, because the word/term cannot be objectively defined. “Overpopulation” has become a political term. It has no objective, clear meaning.
The proper term to use or to describe the bishop’s belief is “pro-natalism”. Know this term. Most religious people are pro-natalist, as they believe in the promotion of human production. Thus, the bishop is not pro-overpopulation, but pro-natalism.
In fact, many countries have adopted pro-natalist policies. These pro-natalist countries that want to increase their population include Singapore, Japan, South Korea, France, and Russia. Even China is worried of its fast declining population.Now, are these countries pro-overpopulation? This is why we need to understand these basic concepts. I think there will come a time China’s communist leaders will regret their aggressive, criminal one-child policy.
Furthermore, the whole of Europe is also now experiencing rapid population decline, as most European countries are below the replacement fertility rate of 2.0. Many Euro nations have a low TFR because of the following reasons:
- education – the Europeans have become more aware of the importance and availability of contraception and consequences an unplanned pregnancy;
- women in careers
- late marriages
- state benefits that encourage people or married people to think they no longer need children to help care for them when older.
The experience of Europe debunks the population control propaganda/agenda of many UP academics and government officials, like NEDA chief Arsenio Balisacan, that lower population and TFR leads to economic progress. The truth is, it’s the other way around. Demographic transition follows economic growth, as evidenced by Singapore, South Korea and many European countries.
Meanwhile at the braindead Filipino freefarters’ Facebook site…