Filipino People Need Jobs, Not RH!
The pro-RH palamunins have been circulating a highly ridiculous and fallacious graph (see photo above) that compares the prevalent use of contraceptives and degree of corruption among several countries, including the Philippines. The graph shows that our country is the most corrupt among the 11 mentioned countries and has the lowest contraceptive prevalence rate. The term contraceptive prevalence rate or CPR is defined by the World Health Organization as “the percentage of women between 15-49 years who are practising, or whose sexual partners are practising, any form of contraception.”
The mere fact that the WHO is very much concerned with overpopulation indicates that population control is one of the main agenda of highly influential global bodies like the United Nations, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. In fact, the United Nations, which has been shamelessly, desperately trying to expand its intrusive global-political powers designed to undermine nations’ sovereignty, released a population control document in March 2009.
The UN policy report begins with this stunning question: ‘What would it take to accelerate fertility decline in the least developed countries?’
Apparently there’s a global concern about poor countries producing too many unemployed, palamunin people. This is exactly the utterly mediocre, anti-intellectual mentality that motivates a number of pro-welfare Filipinos to support the controversial Reproductive Health bill, otherwhise known as Responsible Parenthood bill. Like the pro-palamunin pinoys, the UN and other global bodies are so worried about global overpopulation that they are determined to meddle with countries’ domestic affairs and political policies.
The UN defines the “less developed regions” as “all the countries and areas of the world except Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States of America and all countries in Europe.”
The UN report also says: “Lack of access to family planning and, in particular, to modern methods of contraception is a major cause of the persistence of high fertility as indicated by the high levels of unmet need for family planning prevalent in most least developed countries having the requisite data.”
The word “access” here means access to government-funded contraceptive methods. According to the WHO, contraceptive methods include condoms, female and male sterilization, injectable and oral hormones, intrauterine devices, diaphragms, spermicides and natural family planning, as well as lactational amenorrhoea (lack of menstruation during breastfeeding) where it is cited as a method.
So, what would it take to accelerate fertility decline in the poor Philippines? The pro-RH people’s anwer is of course: a higher contraceptive prevalence rate. To achieve this, the government has to legislate population by means of passing the RH bill and other population control measures. We all know the country’s most notorious dictator Ferdinand Marcos vigorously implemented a population control measure in the past. It is not certain whether the Marcosian anti-population program worked, but what is clear is that the government threw a lot of taxpayers’ money at the program.
There are two issues that I need to address here. One is the issue of contraceptive use in the country, and the other is the issue of corruption. The message behind the propaganda photo is very clear: the Philippine government has been more focused on corruption rather than on population control or contraception. The propagandist who created that image and those who support it are trying to say that it’s high time for the government to curb population by means of more contraception spending.
The image shows that there is high CPR in countries like India, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, China, Turkey, South Korea, United States and Australia. The problem with this piece of propaganda is that it does not say whether or not contraception in those countries are being funded by their governments.
The accompanying message of the photo, which was posted on this Facebook group, says:
“The Catholic Church in its rally yesterday claimed that contraception leads to corruption. I tried to see a statistical basis for this assertion and gathered a few random countries’ contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR, in percent) and corruption perception (rankings). It turns out that the Philippines, with the lowest CPR is the most corrupt, and countries with high CPRs (the U.S., Turkey, South Korea, Australia) were the least corrupt. What this means to me is that contraception is associated with the dissipation of corruption, contrary to what the Catholic clergy says.”
I don’t know where the Catholic Church got the idea that contraception leads to corruption, but that has been one of my main anti-RH messages over the past three years. For instance, I stated in this blog (dated Oct. 24, 2010) that:
“The system would corrupt the entire medical profession. Since RH services would be partly or even fully subsidized by the government and/or paid for by employers, hospitals might look at opportunities to get more patients or RH beneficiaries rather than focusing on quality health care. How much should a hospital charge for every RH care visit to be covered by Philhealth or a private company? How would the government or state regulators know whether a particular clinic or hospital mis-declare the number of its patients, its price, etc?”
So, basically, the Catholic Church is correct in saying that the RH bill, if passed, would breed corruption.
However, the question that one needs to answer is: Why do we have low contraception prevalence rate? Who’s to blame?
First, I need to clarify that I’m in favor of contraception use. What I strongly oppose is the idea that the government has to control the entire medical industry and try to legislate population and responsible parenthood in the name of helping the poor or curbing our increasing population.
There are a number of factors why there is low CPR in the Philippines. These factors may include:
- Personal choice. Well, people in these parts are still entitled to their personal choices!
- Religion. Some people base their family planning methods on faith. Since religion is a private matter, the religionists have the right to practice their faith.
- Unemployment due to the government’s protectionism and failed economic policies. Unemployed people have more time to procreate. It’s as simple as that.
- Ignorance. Can the government legislate ignorance? If it could, then, it has to legislate first the collective ignorance of our politicians!
But certainly there are some people who’d argue that one factor is minimal government spending on contraception. I disagree. The government has been distributing taxpayers’-funded contraceptives since the time of Marcos. Some people only need to read books on Philippine history.
In 1967, the Philippines under the Marcosian rule joined world governments in their effort to curb global population. Two years after Marcos signed the Declaration on Population, Executive Order 171 was passed establishing the Commission on Population (POPCOM), and in 1970 Executive Order 233 empowered POPCOM to direct a national population program.
From this online source:
The Population Act [RA 6365] passed in 1971 made family planning part of a strategy for national development.25 Subsequent Presidential Decrees required increased participation of public and private sectors, private organizations and individuals in the population programme.26Under President Corazon Aquino (1986 to 1992) the family planning element of the programme was transferred to the Department of Health, where it became part of a five year health plan for improvements in health, nutrition and family planning. According to the Philippines National Statistics Office, the strong influence of the Catholic Church undermined political and financial support for family planning, so that the focus of the health policy was on maternal and child health, not on fertility reduction.27
The Population Management Program
The Ramos administration launched the Philippine Population Management Program(PPMP)in 1993. This was modified three years later to incorporate “responsible parenthood” policies.28 During the Philippines 12th Congress (2001-2004) policymakers and politicians began to focus on “reproductive health.”29
Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Program
In 2006 the President ordered the Department of Health, POPCOM and local governments to direct and implement the Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Program.The Responsible Parenthood and Natural Family Planning Program’s primary policy objective is to promote natural family planning, birth spacing (three years birth spacing) and breastfeeding which are good for the health of the mother, child, family, and community. While LGUs can promote artificial family planning because of local autonomy, the national government advocates natural family planning.30
Population policy effectiveness and outcomes
The population of the Philippines grew steadily from about 27million in 1960 to over 90 million in 2008. Starting from similar populations in 1960, Thailand, Myanmar and South Korea now have lower populations, and the disparity among them is more marked (See this Figure).
The propaganda photo claims that Indonesia has higher CPR than the Philippines. The problem is that Indonesia’s population grew from 91.9 million in 1960 to 239 million in 2010. Also, our country’s population growth rate has been on the wane during the same period, from 3.35% in 1960 to 1.68 in 2010% (See this Figure). The global growth rate also declined from 2.13% in 1966 to 1.14% in 2010. The country’s fertility rate also dropped over the past several years.
From my earlier post:
What’s the country’s fertility rate for the year 2010? The answer is 3.27, and we’re ranked 62nd. The country’s fertility rate in 2008 was 3.32. This shows a change of -1.51 percent from 2008 to 2010. The country with the highest fertility rate is Niger with 7.75, followed by Mai (7.29), Uganda (6.77), Afghanistan (6.53), Somalia (6.52), and Burundi (6.33).
On the other hand, annual growth rate from 2000-2008 is 1.9 percent, while crude death rate in 2008 is 5 as against crude birth rate during the same year of 25. There is also considerable improvement in life expectancy. Life expectancy in 1970 is 57 years compared to 65 years in 1990. Now perhaps due to modern medical technologies and better quality of life, life expectancy in the country as of 2008 improved to 72 years.
According to a scientific study, the world will reach a milestone wherein half of the global population will be having only enough children to replace itself. What does this statement mean? It simply means that the fertility rate of half of the world will be 2.1 or below. Take note that the Philippine’s current fertility rate is 3.27. This figure—2.1— is described as the “replacement level of fertility”. Around 2.9 billion people out of a total global population of 6.5 billion were living in countries at or below this level in 2000-2005, according to the United Nations population division. The Philippines’ fertility rate in 2003 was 3.29, 3.16 in 2004 and 2005, 3.11 in 2006, and 3.05 in 2007. This means that we are 1.17 above the “replacement level of fertility” considering the fact that the country’s density per square miles is 307.344.
It was also reported that the global population will rise to 3.4 billion out of 7 billion in the early 2010s, which is today, to more than 50 percent in the middle of the next decade. The countries affected by this population “slow down” include not only Japan and Russia but also south India, China, Indonesia and even Brazil.
Statistics actually indicate that the dreaded ‘overpopulation’ in the country is indeed a gigantic myth. However, people who support the RH bill claim that the state has to curb population because our society can no longer accomodate or serve the needs of our growing poor population. Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the bill’s strongest and most deluded proponents, articulated this utterly flawed premise in the following fashion:
[The RH bill] does not claim that family planning is the panacea for poverty. It simply recognizes the verifiable link between a huge population and poverty. Unbridled population growth stunts socioeconomic development and aggravates poverty. The connection between population and development is well-documented and empirically established.
The problem with Lagman’s Malthusian mentality is that it is utterly flawed, erroneous and evil. If there’s a group of homo sapiens who badly need reeducation it is the mediocre Filipinos like Edcel Lagman, publicity hound Carlos Celdran and their pro-palamunin ilk. Population in developed countries like Japan declined because of cultural and economic reasons! Japanese women know the economic costs of pregnancy and having too many children.
This study explains why Japan is faced with population decline (emphasis mine):
In Japanese culture bringing up children is usually left to the mothers. Very few men take any childcare leave (although they are entitled to do so), and surveys reveal that over 40% of fathers have never changed a nappy or put the children to bed. This fact, and the lack of childcare facilities, means that few women return to work after having their children, and many other women feel they would have to give up too much in order to have a family.
There are also strong economic reasons why people choose not to have children or to have only one or two. Being pregnant in Japan is expensive, as pregnancy is not covered by health insurance. This means that women must pay for their own medical care during pregnancy, including hospital check-ups. After the birth, healthcare is only provided free for infants up to the age of three (or five in some areas). Added to this are the huge costs of schooling and university education, and many families decide they can only afford to have one or two children at the most. Child benefit paid by the government to families is low and hardly enough to pay for nappies, let alone all the other costs associated with having a family.
The argument that overpopulation causes poverty is highly fallacious. What causes what? Reality shows that it is poverty that causes overpopulation, not the other way around. Population and ferility rates in poor countries are high because of poverty, unemployment and high dependency on government welfare. This is the case of poor countries like Niger, Uganda, Mali, Somalia, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Ethiopia, and Republic of Congo. Why is it that these countries, including the Philippines, are poor? It’s because of poor economic freedom and openness.
Among the 11 mentioned countries, China has the highest CPR. This is not surprising because the Chinese socialist government imposes its Orwellian one-child policy. In China, contraception is part of their daily survival. Chinese men and women need to use contraceptives so as not to violate their socialist government’s one-child policy. Government-sponsored crimes in China like forced abortions are prevalent because of its draconian law.
The difference between socialist countries and freer nations is that the former vigorously implement their population control measures. In freer countries like the United States, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia, people are free to practice family planning even without aggressive population control laws. For example, Japan now experiences declining birth rate because of its very low employment rate. The Japanese government announced this week that the nation’s unemployment rate hit 4.3 percent last month down from 4.4 percent in May. In fact, the Japanese government encourages its young adults to date and marry.
The reality is: there is high fertility rate in poor countries because of poverty caused by poor economic freedom/openness and failed economic policies, while developed countries have been experiencing declining birth rates.
Consider this report:
“Western European countries have low fertility rates, below the replacement rate of 2.1. Germany: 1.4 (its total population is 81.9 million, of which 8.2% are foreigners). Holland: 1.8 (16.5 million, of which 4.4% are foreigners). Belgium: 1.8 (10.8 million, of which 9.8% are foreigners). Spain: 1.4 (46.1 million, of which 12.4% are foreigners). Italy: 1.4 (60.2 million, of which 7.1% are foreigners), the Pope’s views notwithstanding. Sweden, which provides deep support for parents, has a high TFR of 1.9 (9.4 million, of which 6.4% are foreigners), but that’s still below the replacement rate. Ireland and the U.K. also have high TFRs, at 2.1 and 1.9, respectively, but these rates are derived from non-European immigrant parents.”
This is what I’ve been saying for years: passing the RH bill instead of focusing on sound economic policies to allegedly help the poor is the most disgusting, disturbing political irony in the history of this failing country.
On the issue of corruption, one has to ask: What causes corruption? There’s only one objective, definite, reality-based answer: the idea of BIG GOVERNMENT or welfare state.
I stated the following in a previous blog:
“Big Government or more government powers is the root cause- that is, the cause of the cause– of these problems. For years we have been taught- by our teachers, professors, media pundits, church leaders, and political leaders- that the solution to our social problems or even personal predicaments is the government. In 1987, or a few years after Garcia launched his Filipino First Policy, we enacted the New Constitution, which had been our answer to foreign capitalist domination, poverty, and inequality. We’ve been gradually indoctrinated that the source of the country’s poverty, economic troubles, and political crisis was Western imperialism or foreign domination. We’re taught to blame others for our self-caused tragedy. We’re taught, by our leftist or statist professors, to blame imperialist America for our own economic troubles. We’re taught to hate multinational corporations for high unemployment and high prices of commodities. We’re taught to blame the Western media, which had long been dominated by liberal and statist media intellectuals, for our so-called ‘colonial mentality’. In the minds of these statist intellectuals, we did nothing wrong.’
Observe that corruption in the Philippines thrive in government departments, bureaus, offices, and sectors involved in moneyed transactions (e.g., BIR, BoC, PAGCOR, etc.), making contracts (examples of corruption: ZTE deal, PIATCO deal, ExpoFilipino, and many others), giving subsidies, loans, and grants (e.g., government banks), business (all government-owned and controlled corporations), and charity (e.g., DSWD, government hospitals, state universities, etc.)
Therefore, the best alternative to RH bill is free market reform. The Philippine government needs to embark on free market reforms, lower welfare spending, limit the size of government, combat corruption, and focus on the protection of individual rights. A number of Asian countries have adopted free market reforms over the past two decades. China, for example, had to compromise its Maoist principles by opening its economy to foreign investors and joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. Singapore, Hong kong, and South Korea have also focus on improving its level/degree of economic freedom. In 2011, Doing Business ranked Singapore and Hong Kong first and second, respectively, in terms of ‘ease of doing business, while South Korea was ranked 8th. Former socialist Myanmar has adopted a new constitution that would allow foreigners to make make investments in Myanmar, owning 100 percent of businesses, without the need for a local partner. This will make Myanmar more economically free than the Philippines.
On the other hand, Doing Business ranked Philippines 236th behind Nigeria, Syria and Sudan. A high ranking on the ease of doing business index means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm. This means that our government’s anti-business policies, regulations and protectionism discourage investment. And this is the reason why we have increasing unemployment rate, public debt, and budget deficit. Yes, our failed economic policies, protectionism, too much regulations, and high corruption are the reason why this country is poor. The best contraceptive method is more jobs. But to achieve high employment rate, our government needs to do the exact opposite of what it’s doing today. It has to deregulate, adopt free market reforms, lower tax rates, and limit its scope of powers, which is the best way to fight corruption in the public sector.
A question to RH bill supporters: Isn’t more practical for our government to focus more on sound economic policies?
- The video above talks about free trade and protectionism. The Philippines is notorious for its 60-40 protectionism that limits foreign participation in our economy. I offer the following remark on the issue of protectionism:
If you try to scan a number of economic studies about “protectionism”, you’d discover that most of these studies suffer from ‘definitional’ and conceptual issues. For instance, some studies show a very limited definition of protectionism. Based on its standard definition, protectionism can ‘only’ be implemented through the following protectionist policies: tariffs, import quotas, anti-dummy legislation, administrative barriers, direct and export subsidies, exchange rate manipulation, international patent system. I assume that many studies on protectionism relied on this very limited definition of protectionism to reach their findings and conclusions. Using that particular definition or methodology, researchers might conclude that the Philippines is more economically free and open than other Asian countries even though it arbitrarily imposes foreign ownership restrictions.
What could be more protectionist than foreign ownership limitations? I have not seen a single Philippine study that looked into the pernicious economic effects of the constitutional foreign ownership restrictions on our domestic economy as a whole. Perhaps this is the reason why Winnie Monsod and the rest of the country’s pseudo-intellectuals reject the idea of fully opening our economy to foreign investors. Anyone who attempts to study the impact of protectionism on the Philippine economy should try to properly ‘redefine’ the concept of protectionism. Protectionism is just a form of economic regulation… and foreign ownership limitation and other anti-foreign business legislation should be included in the conceptual definition of protectionism. However, what is draining our economy is not just protectionism, but also welfare politics and regulations. Consider the writ of kalikasan, anti-business labor law, environmentalist policies, and PNOY’s up-and-coming universal health care program. For even if we try to open our economy to foreign investors, the existing regulations and others to come would discourage businesses, both foreign and local.