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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giving up the demographic advantage

By Jose C. Sison 
Updated November 29, 2010 12:00 AM

The proponents and supporters of the RH bill repeatedly point out and continue to harp on our alleged overpopulation problem as the main reason why the bill should be enacted into law. They cite the fact that our population continues to increase as there are now 90 million Filipinos and still counting, so that by 2025 they project that there will be 120 million Filipinos already. But is there really a population explosion in the Philippines?

To answer this question, our Congressmen and Senators, and even the President should not just rely on the current state of our population as commonly perceived. They should examine the facts and figures compiled by the National Statistics Office (NSO) on our population growth rate over the decades. Statistics show that over the past 50 years starting 1960 up to the present, there is a continuing decline in the growth rate of our population. From 3.01% in 1960-70, it became 2.75% in 1970-80, then 2.35% in 1980-90, 2.34% in 1990-2000, 2.04% in 2000-2007 and 1.95% in 2005-2010. This record of decline over the past 50 years is the best and most reliable proof that there is no population explosion in our country and that the population growth rate will continue to decline in the decades to come.

Of course our population is still increasing because we have not yet reached zero or negative growth rate. But it is not high anymore at 1.95% as to cause alarm that the RH bill supporters and proponents are raising. For a clearer perspective of our present population growth and the inevitable consequences if the RH bill is passed, let me quote again from the article, “RH bill Revisited” of ex-Senator Tatad. He said:

“This growth rate is not high, but the real numbers continue to grow because people finally ‘stopped dying like flies’. The average worker in the Philippines is much younger than his counterpart in most of the world, giving us a long term edge that has been lost forever in so many countries. Population controllers and their propagandists, however, continue to alarm us about our supposedly ‘exploding’ numbers, without looking at the age structure, which puts us above most everybody else, when the world’s most serious problem is irreversible ageing, ‘de-fertilization’, ‘depopulation’ and ‘dechristianization’ now changing the face of Europe.

Writing in the November/December 2010 issue of the prestigious US quarterly journal, Foreign Affairs, Nicholas Eberstadt, one of the world’s most respected demographers, reports that ‘almost all of the world’s developed countries have sub-replacement fertility, with overall birth rates more than 20 percent below the level required for long term population stability. But developed countries account for less than a fifth of the world’s population; the great majority of the world’s population with sub-replacement fertility in fact reside in the low income societies…Between now and 2020, the global supply of potential workers is set to grow more slowly than in the previous two decades. According to U.S. Census Bureau projections, the absolute increase in the world’s working age population(15- 64) between 2010 and 2030 will be around 900 million, 400 million fewer than over the past two decades. The projected average rate of global manpower growth for the coming decades is 0.9 per year, only half the rate for the period between 1990 and 2010…It is not alarmist to warn that there is no time to lose in recognizing — and adopting to — the enormity of the world’s unavoidable demographic challenges.

Our situation in the Philippines is tragic and perverse. We are being asked to renounce our enormous natural demographic advantage as a great liability and to embrace the costly and ruinous population policies of the West that have long failed”.

So only the proponents and supporters of the RH bill say that the Philippine population is growing too fast. Statistics say otherwise. Raising the alarm of overpopulation all the more proves that the bill’s real and ultimate objective is population control. They are just hiding this real objective by adopting the western sponsored family planning programs supposedly in the exercise of “responsible parenthood” by the couple, and in promoting “reproductive health” of women by giving them the right to an “informed choice” between the method of using contraceptive and the natural family planning. The objective here is to reduce the size of the population in developing countries like the Philippines considering the overall effects of population growth
in developing countries on the economic and security interest of the U.S. (1974 Kissinger report or the National Social Security Memorandum, NSSM 200).

In this connection, let me share another interesting angle on this western population policy written by a Canadian analyst Abid Ullah Jan ( He says that it is the “most populous nations who will dominate the world in the next century” particularly “23 countries with the largest populations’ that includes the Philippines. This is what was written about the Philippines:

“Fully 71 percent of the males in the Philippines between the age of 15 and 49 are fit for combat with over 700,000 more expected to join their number annually. It explains the eagerness of western countries to encourage births at home, while demanding at the very same time to take outrageous steps to prevent fertility in developing world to avoid a shift in the balance of power at some time in the future. This also explains the otherwise inexplicably cruel programs of structural adjustment, the conversion of agriculture to export production, and other policies that impoverish the developing nations. The ‘overpopulation’ propaganda may be simple. And it may have been freely circulated around the world for so long that it has come to be taken for granted. Its contradictions are not invisible. And suspicions of evil motivation do not die. Rather they grow in proportion to the pressures from overseas”.

Legislators, please take note.

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