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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The "overpopulation" scare: a distraction from the real issues

Through Untrue
May 14, 2011, 10:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — Instead of allowing himself to be manipulated by pro-RH Bill legislators and their publicity-hungry supporters, the President would do well to question the timing and motive behind this controversy. History shows that whenever politicians need to distract a president from pursuing his political platform and solving urgent national problems, they throw a red herring at him. Usually, it is the issue of overpopulation.

This devilish tactic is conjured by legislators and politicians who want the public’s attention to shift from their gross inefficiency and mismanagement of their pork barrels and office funds to the President’s handling of this issue. With their “sabong mentality,” media practitioners fuels this controversy by pitting the President against the Catholic Church and pro-life advocates.

Aquino’s winning slogan that assured him the presidency was: “Pag walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” It was a clear declaration that the main cause of poverty in the country is corruption. And this, he promised to eradicate. But now, RH bill proponents are effectively distracting him from pursuing this goal by diverting his attention to an old but irrelevant issue. They want him to believe that the main cause of poverty and misery in the country is the absence of legislated birth-control measures. If he believes that crap, he is in danger of plunging the country into what Peter Drucker in his book Management Challenges for the 21st Century calls “collective national suicide.”

Drucker writes that once adopted, the birth control legislation creates an irreversible mentality that is opposed to human birth. “The most important single new certainty – if only because there is no precedent for it in all of history – is the relentlessly collapsing birthrate in those countries that have implemented an aggressive birth control policy.”

World Population Monitoring 2001, an independent body that conducts research on population, declares: “The most dire predictions about the consequences of population growth have proven unfounded, and remain unlikely to occur.” In its January 1, 2000, Millennium Edition, the New York Times listed the overpopulation scare as “one of the myths of the 20th century.”

Developing countries with government-enforced birth control policies are now beset with the problem of an elderly population growing very fast with no prospect of young people to support them. This trend is manifest in other countries that only a few years back had high birth rates. Birthrates in Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka are below replacement level because of stringent birth control laws.

The President would do well to concentrate on his avowed mission of eradicating corruption in government. He might also like to look into international trade and financial arrangements, which work against the country. IMF and World Bank, which claim to be working to assist poor countries, actually aggravate their situation by over-burdening them with debt payments for loans borrowed by corrupt government leaders who hardly spent this for national development.

He would better focus on how politicians and legislators spend their pork barrel; order them to pass laws that will effectively guarantee that people’s taxes are used for improving public utilities, create efficient transport facilties like commuter trains, and allocate sufficient budget for public services, especially education.

Perhaps he can also look into the amoeba-like multiplication of lottery games that the government says are intended for its social welfare projects for the poor. Despite billions of weekly lotto earnings, social welfare infrastructures and systems wallow in miserable conditions. And to think that most of the bettors are poor people!

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