Question: If you are a parent, has one or more kids, do you need the government to tell you that you should be a responsible parent?
Think quick. Yes or No?
If you answer Yes, then I believe there is something wrong with your personal values. If you answer No, then I congratulate you. You know your role as an individual and as a parent.
But now, we in the Philippines are faced with a congressional proposal with an ugly title called "Responsible Parenthood" bill. Parental responsibility is a non-issue. It's a given. If you are a parent, you HAVE responsibilities to your kids, to your family, no alibis.
So how come that a supposedly non-issue has become a big national issue?
I think the quick and simple answer is: Government. The government wants to impose another round of coercion and mandatory actions. And there are penalties and fines for non-obedience to such new round of coercion.
This highly controversial, highly divisive, highly emotional congressional bill, will require long discussions. Section by section if necessary.
For now, I will limit this article to only one thing: HUGE budgetary requirements to implement this proposal if it becomes a law. I will reserve additional discussions in the continuation of this new discussion series.
The authors, sponsors and advocates of this bill seem to think that this problem does not exist -- high public debt as a result of endless annual budget deficit, a result of endless borrowings to plug those deficit. High debt will require high repayment, both in principal and interest payment.
And thus, they thought of these programs with still undetermined, high, and new expenditures on top of existing expenditures:
Sec. 5. Midwives for Skilled Attendants.
The Local Government Units (LGUs) with the assistance of the Department of Health (DOH), shall employ an adequate number of midwives to achieve a minimum ratio of one (1) fulltimeskilled birth attendant for every one hundred fifty (150) deliveries per year...
Sec. 6. Emergency Obstetric Care.
Each province and city, with the assistance of the DOH, shall establish or upgrade hospitals with adequate and qualified personnel, equipment and supplies to be able to provideemergency obstetric care. For every 500,000 population, there shall be at least one (1)hospital with comprehensive emergency obstetric care and four (4) hospitals or other health facilities with basic emergency obstetric care...
Sec. 7. Access to Family Planning.
All accredited health facilities shall provide a full range of modern family planning methods,except in specialty hospitals which may render such services on optional basis. For poorpatients, such services shall be fully covered by PhilHealth Insurance and/or governmentfinancial assistance on a no balance billing...
Sec. 9. Maternal Death Review
All Local Government Units (LGUs), national and local government hospitals, and other publichealth units shall conduct annual maternal death review in accordance with the guidelines setby the DOH.
Sec. 10. Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines
Products and supplies for modern family planning methods shall be part of the National DrugFormulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines andsupplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units.
Sec. 11. Procurement and Distribution of Family Planning Supplies
The DOH shall spearhead the efficient procurement, distribution to Local Government Units (LGUs) and usage-monitoring of family planning supplies for the whole country.
Sec. 13. Roles of Local Government in Family Planning Programs
The LGUs shall ensure that poor families receive preferential access to services, commodities and programs for family planning. The role of Population Officers at municipal, city and barangay levels in the family planning effort shall be strengthened. The Barangay Health Workers and Volunteers shall be capacitated to give priority to family planning work.
Sec. 14. Benefits for Serious and Life-Threatening Reproductive Health Conditions
All serious and life threatening reproductive health conditions such as HIV and AIDS, breast and reproductive tract cancers, obstetric complications, menopausal and post-menopausal related conditions shall be given the maximum benefits as provided by PhilHealth programs.
SEC. 15. Mobile Health Care Service
Each Congressional District shall be provided with at least one Mobile Health Care Service(MHCS) in the form of a van or other means of transportation appropriate to coastal ormountainous areas.
SEC. 16. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education
Age-appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall be taught by adequately trained teachers in formal and non-formal educational system starting from Grade Five up to Fourth Year High School using life-skills and other approaches.... The Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Health (DOH) shall formulate the Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education curriculum. Such curriculum shall be common to both public and private schools, out of school youth...
SEC. 19. Capability Building of Barangay Health Workers
Barangay Health Workers and other community-based health workers shall undergo training on the promotion of reproductive health and shall receive at least 10% increase in honoraria, upon successful completion of training. The amount necessary for the increase in honoraria shall be charged against the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) componentof the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program of the DSWD. In the event the CCT is phased out, the funding sources shall be charged against the Gender and Development(GAD) budget or the development fund component of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
SEC. 24. Right to Reproductive Health Care Information
...The DOH and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) shall initiate and sustain a heightened nationwide multi-media campaign to raise the level of public awareness of the protection and promotion of reproductive health and rights...
Twelve sections leading to still undetermined amount, several billions of pesos per year of new spending to control high population growth. Determining the size of family is now government responsibility, not parental responsibility. Then taking care of the kids -- their education, healthcare, nutrition, other needs -- is also implied to be largely government responsibility, not parental responsibility.
Since when have the values of parents been corrupted this way?
Additional discussions to follow in the coming days and weeks.
Related articles here are Increasing population, no problem
Population policy: Big Govt or Big Church?