A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY)
By Jose C. Sison
Philippine Star, Friday, April 25, 2008
Every time the National Statistics Office (NSO) comes out with its population count, population control advocates promoting contraceptive mentality immediately grab the opportunity to advance their cause with an implied “we told you so” message. But like most propagandists, they do not present the true picture and sometimes engage in misinformation, fallacies and incorrect statements.
Firstly, too much emphasis is given to the increase in our population and the big number of people in our country that now stands at 88.5 million compared to 76 million in the year 2000 when the last census was taken. They keep on harping that an increase of 12.5 million in a matter of less than eight years clearly indicates lack of a cohesive population control policy. Hence this should spur the government to finally adopt the population control and management program they have been advocating through the use of artificial contraceptives.
Obviously, they are not giving us the entire picture. Our country’s population is indeed getting bigger. This is true of any place inhabited by couples of reproductive age. Population is really bound to increase every year. But if emphasis must be given to the growth of our population, stress must also be given to the decelerating rate of growth during the same period. Thus from a population growth rate of 2.34 % last 2000, the population growth rate as of 2007 has been reduced to 2.04%.
Of course they would say this is not a significant decrease in growth rate and would not have much effect in arresting the burgeoning population. Nevertheless it should likewise be played up to show that we really have a population control program.
What must be done is to just strengthen and make that program more effective rather than adopt the population control and management program foisted upon us by a global conspiracy against life involving international institutions as well as rich countries and their multinational drug companies driven by greed and profit motive.
To be sure no less than the President in her speech at the Inter Faith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace held in the UN on September 13, 2005 categorically declared the she will devote the UN’s reproductive health funding assistance in the country to train married couples in the use and propagation of the Billings Ovulation Technology which the World Health Organization (WHO) itself found very effective — even compared to artificial contraceptives. In the same speech, the President cited the findings by the Population Council of New York in the early eighties that artificial contraception barely has an impact on the decline of birth rates at merely 2% while the improvement of economic condition of the family, urbanization and breastfeeding together significantly influence the decline of fertility rates by as much as 98%.
Hence she requested the UN “to direct its assistance towards the improvement of our family productivity as the best economic solution towards eradicating the economic problem of poverty.”
Another fallacy being floated around is the proposition that economic development can be achieved only by limiting population growth. This is not exactly true as noted by Nathan Keyfitz, a noted economist who said in his article that the “empirical evidence shows little relation between the growth of population and income per head or related economic variables. Not population but artificial constraints on the market are doing the damage. His views are backed up by extensive surveys and found support from a professor of economics at Harvard University, Simon Kuznets, who pointed out that “history does not support a dogma that rapid population growth invariably inhibits economic development. There was, and is, no invariant and significant direct effect of population increase on the rate of rise per capita product, if the latter is the accepted measure of economic growth”.
I am not an economist, in fact I am not good at figures and statistics that was why I took up law, but I would rather believe these big league economists than our local economic kibitzers and commentators who express exactly opposite views by giving us misleading and inaccurate information just to promote artificial contraceptives.
Finally, it is wrong and quite unfair to blame the Roman Catholic Church for allegedly opposing the adoption of any population control program resulting in alleged lack of any population management policy that is now causing uncontrolled population growth.
In the first place our population growth is not uncontrolled as shown by NSO statistics of declining growth rate. Secondly, the Philippines has a population management policy that is clearly spelled out by the President herself when she told the UN conference that we are training married couples in natural family planning technology that the WHO found to be more effective compared to artificial contraceptives. Thirdly, the Church is not exactly against population control but only against the kind of control that promotes the contraceptive mentality. It advocates natural family planning and believes that the obligation and decision to space or avoid births belong to parents and should not be left to the laws or decrees of public authority. The clear stand of the Church is that as responsible members of society parents may resort to natural family planning to space children for reasons of family welfare because of severe genetic defects or because of an inability to cope or to educate but not necessarily for decreasing national and world population.
The Church is against the artificial methods and contraceptive pills because of their proven ill effects and damaging consequences on the physical and spiritual health of their users. It is against making these harmful devices and pills accessible to couples and allowing them to make the choices after being thoroughly informed of their advantages and disadvantages. The Church believes that freedom of choice does not mean freedom to choose something harmful to society. For if that would be the case, people should also be given the freedom to distribute, sell or use dangerous drugs.
Note: Books containing compilation of my articles on Labor Law and Criminal Law (Vols. I and II) are now available. Call tel. 7249445.
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