By Valeriano Avila
Philippine Star, Friday, April 25, 2008
With the global food crisis affecting many nations, everyone seems focused in looking for blame rather than finding ways on how we can solve this problem. This brings me to make comments on two editorials pertaining to this topic. The first editorial was from The Freemanís issue last Sunday entitled ďPopulation ExplosionĒ. Allow me to reprint an excerpt of this editorial.
ďThe results of the 2007 Population Census have shown that there are now more than 88 million Filipinos living in the country. From 76.50 million in 2000, the countryís population, however, only grew by 2.04 percent, the lowest since 1960 according to the National Statistics Office. Despite slower growth during the past seven years, the overall picture will tell that the Philippine population is still growing at an unprecedented rate. In the next few years, the number of Filipinos is expected to hit the 100-million mark. Because the Philippines has one of the highest populations growths in the world, the fruits of the countryís growing economy are not enough to help the standard of living of the poor, who comprise majority of the population.Ē
The other editorial worthy of mentioning was the cartoon editorial of a national daily yesterday that depicted a man representing the Population Control Advocates shouting, ďAha! Itís caused by the population growth!Ē The man is looking at a shanty with lots of children, while behind him were the problems that plagued this country, i.e. the Fertilizer scam, the Rice Crisis, Land Conversion and a weak agricultural program. They forgot the biggest is corruption which cost the taxpayer some P10 billion a year of our money that lands in the pockets of the corrupt and the damned!
Indeed it is very easy to blame population explosion as the root cause of our nationís woes. Too many ďsmartĒ Filipinos find it easy and convenient to blame even the Catholic Church for our population explosion. Yet many of these people cannot see the reality that governmentís inability to curb corruption meant less of our poor getting an education, shelter or work.
Why donít we ask those anti-population advocates whether or not a huge population is the folly of a nation? Perhaps the best example is China, where the Western nations once pointed to Chinaís billion-plus population as the reason for its poverty.
But today, Chinaís huge population is now the very reason why China has boomed economically, because if you can sell a product to a million Chinese (which is a proverbial drop in their population) you can become an instant millionaire.
While China still embraces the One-Child Policy, which means the abortion of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of unborn children, this policy has now caused a severe imbalance in the number of women vs. men, where there are lesser women now than there are men. Such an imbalance has caused certain social problems, including the rise of homosexuality especially in the far-flung areas where the reality of having a few women means they now have a higher value to the menfolk. This is where the law of supply and demand is at work, where men now pay dowry to women rather than what was practice in the past, where the family pays dowry to the man that marries their women.
Incidentally, the same One-Child policy was also embraced by Singapore in the past because they realized that their little island could not handle a huge population. But now, Singapore has all but abandoned this policy because of a poor population growth, where they are now forced to accept foreigners to work there.
If the China or Singapore story is not enough to convince you, take a look at Japan, whose population is more than 127 million, making them the worldís 10th most populated nation. Mind you, for the past five years, Japan has been experiencing a decline in its population, but thanks to advance medical science Japan has one of the highest life expectancies at an average of 81.25 years old. That means they have more old people who needs to be cared by the young Japanese. This is why they need Filipino nurses there.
Surely we can see for ourselves that the Japanese isles cannot even feed all its population as we have more land area than the whole of Japan? But thanks to the efficient (almost corrupt-free) Japanese government, the Japanese are not complaining about their huge population. In fact they are encouraging the youth to have more children.
So back to our problem in the Philippines. Our problem is not due to our huge population, but to our inefficient system of governance that is wracked with corrupt bureaucrats under the employ of politicians that make politics a family business enterprise. Give good governance to our people and our population could be our boon, not our bane!
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