Monday, July 21, 2008

Wrong priority

Wrong priority

While our congressmen and women at the big house are busy pushing a bill that will promote the use of artificial birth control methods to control population the people are reeling from the double crises resulting from run away cost of food and oil. The analogy that comes to my mind is the story from Will Durant who, in his Story of Philosophy, said that while the Athenian solons (all 1000 of them) were busy arguing in the midst of the Peloponnesian wars the Spartans marched past the gate and won the war. At the height of a rapidly deteriorating situation our solons are pushing for the use of condoms to address the issue of over population and poverty. The problem is that artificial birth control will neither reduce populations nor make a dent on poverty. Values, morality and not permissiveness and promiscuity will solve our economic and political problems.

There is no over population in the Philippines in the first place. A road trip across rural areas would show space, living space for millions of Filipinos more. There is nothing out there but soil, crops, trees, rivers, mountains, and hills. That’s where the problem lies. Because there is “nothing” out there the people are flocking to the big cities in search for jobs and a better life, only to find out that life does not get better with a city job or by living in the big city. Most of the rural poor end up as prostitutes of some sort, domestic helpers, and factory workers anyway.

The perception that there is a need to drastically reduce our population is caused by migration to urban centers resulting in over crowding but not over population. The problem has to do with the lack of development in the country side rather than the lack of condoms and birth control pills. Poverty is caused by poor and mismanaged economic policies, and, by a large part, corruption. Big populations can be a source of economic development and not the other way around. Our economy, for example, is kept afloat by the dollar remittances that come from Filipinos working abroad. Bigger populations mean bigger markets, more man power, and added human resources for economic growth.

Indeed, the population problem that is confronting the developed world is actually their lack of people. In the West the populations are dwindling. Their people are growing older and in their case the young working people have to care for a growing number of senior aged dependents. That’s why they need care takers and nurses from the Philippines. One may even suspect that one of the interests of some funding agencies to reduce populations in developing nations is to prevent a disparity between populations. It has been estimated that white people will make up less than 10% of the world’s population by 2050 AD.

But even if over population is a real and pressing problem, artificial birth control methods won’t solve that problem anyway. In fact it may even result into more economic hardships for our people and larger populations. Education, knowledge, wisdom, and prudence are the things that our people need to not only keep the population growth in check but to reduce poverty and solve the looming economic and political problems of the land. Decadent movie and TV shows and irresponsible lifestyles are making our people more and more promiscuous. High school and college girls are getting pregnant at a younger age because of the materialism and the hedonism that media has over them. Gang rapes and sexual abuse are becoming more and more frequent in schools. Poor women are being raped even by their husbands and nobody really knows what to do with the growing number of poor children whose numbers continue to grow at a scary rate. Throwing condoms and pills to our people offers only a bandaged solution at best. Better to teach them values and morality instead. Better to teach them the value of prudence and the wisdom of refusing sexual advances rather than showing them that they can have sex, whether they want it or not, safely as long as they take abortifacient pills.

Meanwhile the protests against the government’s inability to solve the fuel and food crises are getting more and more frequent. More disturbing is the perception that the same rallies are getting more passionate and violent as the days go by. And yet the congressmen and women are quibbling about sex and pills. Solve the real and more urgent problems at hand, then you representatives can wax philosophical all you want later on. Some representatives do have wrong priorities. They would rather go to the US on a junket tour to see Obama, McClain, and Pacquiao rather than stay home and help typhoon victims. Now they act as if there is no food shortage and economic crises taking place.

One has to wonder, therefore, as to just what kind of pressure is being inserted by funding agencies, like US Aid, to make these congressional representatives so hell bent on pushing for artificial birth control. Maybe there is money (for our legislators) to be made by pushing pills and condoms? But these solons have to face another hell as well in the persons of an angry CBCP.

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