Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Population Control 7: I am Supporting the RH bill

Yes, I am supporting the government-sponsored population control measure aka the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. PROVIDED that government will also cut or discontinue some of its existing but ineffective social programs.

As of July 2011, there were an estimated 37.11 million employed Filipinos. We assume that all of them are taxpayers, directly or indirectly. This year, interest payment alone (principal amortization not included) of the national government will be P357 billion. This means that each employed person in this country would fork out something like P9,622 of taxes for interest payment alone this year. Then they have to fork out more taxes to sustain the millions of bureaucracies from the local to national government agencies, up to the multilateral and foreign aid bodies like the UN, WB and ADB who all live off on tax money.

I read that with or without the RH bill, the DOH has already alloted some P7 billion for reproductive health-related spending. People are liabilities, the government and the RH bill supporters say, so their number should be reduced by giving couples various "options and choices" to plan their household size. Never mind the taxpayers including those who have no kids, they have no choice whether to support or opt out of these new spending.

Meanwhile, a friend in facebook posted something like this after Pacquiao's split decision victory over Marquez two weeks ago:

Manny Pacquiao, you now believe in "MAJORITY DECISION." Perhaps you know now the statement from the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey this year, "that 73% of Filipinos want to get information on all legal methods of family planning (FP) from the government and that 68% wants the government to fund all means of family planning." That's majority decision.

And I replied to him, :And if you ask also the people, 'Do you want subsidized or free healthcare and housing, subsidized or free train ride and jeepney fare, subsidized or free cell phones and electricity, subsidized or free farm tractor and fishing boats, etc., government will fully fund those subsidies?', I think 90-100% of them will say Yes. Majority decision too."

Below are some data from Dr. Jop Yap of PIDS. This is part of his paper delivered during the Philippine Economic Society (PES) conference a few weeks ago. I thanked Jop for sharing with me his data.

See the low working age / dependents ratio in Singapore, Thailand, China and Korea? This should be directly or indirectly related to their past population control policies. Soon, their oldies will be needing robots and migrant workers to take care of them as the number of their young population is small in relation to the oldies.

I just came from Taiwan yesterday. The previous day, our friend Joseph Wang, toured us to some places in Taiwan, including the Chiang Kai Shek palace, there are many beautiful flowers there. And there are hundreds, even thousands, of visitors who check the place each day. And I saw there so many senior citizens.

One can say that the oldies in Taiwan and other developed economies are strong enough to travel and tour, unlike the oldies of less-developed countries like the Philippines, who are more weak, or more sedentary, which are related to their poverty. Maybe. But for me, it does not look good that as the number of oldies who need more resources for their healthcare rise, the number of young people who will have to work more hours, or at least work more efficiently and more productively, is not keeping up. One result is that the economy will be forced to (a) borrow and borrow to cover the financing gap between spending and tax revenues of the government, or (b) have more machines and possibly robots to take care of the oldies, or (c) more migrants from higher population countries who did not follow the dictum that "people are liabilities" that is why they have plenty of "surplus population caused by unwanted pregnancies."

Another table from Jop, explicitly arguing that higher family size is more related to higher poverty.

But could it be that the reason why those small households (between 0 to 2 or 3 kids) have higher income is because they hired a nanny, a house helper, a family driver, etc. from households with plenty of children at low salaries, so that the productivity of the small households are higher? They can work 10 to 16 hours a day if they like because someone else are taking care of their young kids, they come home with food ready and they do not have to worry about the laundry, washing the dishes, etc. The "excess population due to unwanted pregnancies" from bigger households are taking care of that for them, again at low or affordable salaries.

I once replied to one tweet by a media person who is so gung ho about the RH bill. She said that "the relationship between population size and poverty is well established." Cool. I replied to her, "So China, India, Brazil, Indonesia are poor, while small population countries like Guyana, Bhutan, Timor, Botswana, Namibia are rich?" She did not reply. Of course.

A friend also commented, "Ask the poor labandera how many kids she has, and if she really wants to have 5 to 10 children." The implication is that having 5-10 children is bad, thus, government should proceed with its usual tax-tax-tax, spend-spend-spend, this time on contraceptives, thousands of sex education teachers, more midwives, etc. There is market failure in the distribution of contraceptives, so it should be government function.

But ask many of those people who say that high population is bad, "Where did you get your house helper, or family driver, or yaya for your kids, or office messengers, taxi drivers, etc., where you pay low that even middle class can afford yayas and helpers, didn't they come from one or more of the kids of those labanderas?"

Poverty or development of a country or economy is directly related to the promulgation of the rule of law in that country, not the size of population. The US with about 340 M people, Japan with 120 M people, Germany with about 83 M people, are big population countries, and are developed. The same with countries pr economies like Singapore, Hong Kong, Ireland, Norway. Then there are also big population countries that are generally poor, like India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, etc. and there are also small population countries that are poor, like the ones I earlier mentioned.

Meanwhile, here's another good piece from a friend in UP, Mike Alunan. He wrote this about two weeks ago in one of my discussion yahoogroups:

Malthusian advocates and apologists have this extreme fear and misconception that population will overrun food production and natural resources and will also result in over-congestion that cities will be bursting at their seams..... well, it seems to be true to a certain extent in the absence of technology and better spatial management systems.

However, history has proven all of these Malthusians wrong. In fact, as early as the cavemen days, there was already "relative over population" vis-a-vis the food available around them. After all, our ancestors were still primitive food gatherers and not yet food producers. Thus they were nomadic. By accident and keen observation of the changes in nature around them, they discovered horticulture or agriculture and livestock raising, which both ushered in the rise of civilizations, mostly along river deltas or the mouths of big river systems.

In short, human beings are capable of overcoming the relative limits of what nature can provide. Unlike animals, which simply adapt to nature, humans can tame and even conquer nature through science and technology.

As to problems of relative overpopulation and congestion in modern times, this can be solved through a combination of spatial management systems that enhance holding capacities, the adoption of high-end production technologies, and a capital-intensive plan of dispersing and building new towns and industrial centers in the regions. As to spatial management let us take the case of Japan. In 1989, i took a short two-week vacation to Japan and discovered that Tokyo was carrying a huge floating population then of about 35 million during daytime and weekdays.

While we were complaining of congestion in Metro Manila with our mere 10 Million population then, Tokyo was able to absorb this huge population, many of whom lived in the countryside or the outskirts of the city but could easily commute by train back and forth for work during daytimes and weekdays. Tokyo has railways and sub-ways criss-crossing the underground even several levels deep under the city. And the most modern railway technology then was the shinkansen, or bullet train, which was considered the fastest at that time at 270-300 kilometers per hour.

What more with the current experimental Japanese JR-Maglev, having achieved 581 km/h (361 mph) on a magnetic-levitation track. At this speed, one can get to Laoag City, which is 463 kms away in only 48 minutes, or to Legaspi City, Albay, about 538 kilometers away in just 55 minutes.

Consider further China’s ongoing laboratory research at Southwest Jiaotong, where it is trying to break all train speed records by developing the latest magnetic levitation (maglev) train (Vactrain or vacuum train) that could run a nerve-wracking speed of 1,000 kph. ( At this speed, Laoag can be reached in 28 miniutes amd Legaspi City in Bicol in just 32 minutes.

With modern transit systems and the vast spaces in the provinces, why worry about congestion and the fears and consequences of relative “overpopulation.”

And because most population control programs, whether disguised as “responsible parenthood,” or “reproductive health” or women’s choice, are all directed at the Poor, isn’t this total class discrimination. Worse, aren’t we blaming the victims of poverty, which result in relative higher population growth rates? After all, there is a correlation with the fact that the more developed a country gets, the lower its population growth rate gets, even approaching zero or negative growth rates as experienced in European countries.

Conversely, the more backward a country is, say agriculturally backward -- the more is the tendency for higher population growth rate in as much as the more primitive are the tools for production, the more one needs more farm labor and therefore, bigger families to help in the farm. Perhaps, in urban settings, the bigger and more extended the family, the more a family gains the collective capacity to earn and survive.

This brings us back to what I have earlier stressed that our problem is not Reproduction, the problem of the economy and society is the lack of Production. I strongly believe no one must neither control Population nor Copulation. Let us leave couples behind to exercise their rights to make their choices based on their financial capacity and potentials and their religious and cultural practices. I neither want the Church nor the State to dictate on what I want or what couples want to do with their lives, more so on concerns below the belt or in the privacy of their intimacy. Worse, I don't want the state to spend hard-earned people's money on birth control programs aimed at certain classes and sectors, which totally smacks of some shades of institutionalized Malthusian genocidalism.


(1) I posted this article last night in my facebook wall, a friend commented:

  • Mike Bautista I understand you're trying to get as many support by compromising.

  • Nonoy Oplas Yes, I think we got to compromise somewhere, my concern is to limit if not reduce govt size, limit its over-spending and over-borrowing. So if the pro-RH groups won't budge on population control, maybe they can give up on some sectors, like supporting the drastic reduction of the budget for state universities, or cut in agrarian reform program, or cut in AFP-DND budget, etc.
    about an hour ago · 

  • Nonoy Oplas Although I doubt the pro-RH will support budget cuts somewhere especially on other social spending. Most of them simply want spend-spend-spend, worry the borrowings later. So I still cannot support the RH bill if that is their position.

(2) A brief twitter debate today, 24 November morning :-)

Totoo...RT : Wala nang sasarap pa kaysa sa paggawa ng bata kaya lang wala nang hihirap pa sa tamang pagpapalaki ng anak.

 Nonoy Oplas 
  Many advocates of popn control are beneficiaries of excess popn. They got family driver, nanny, helper, secur guards

 And those who are anti-RH propagate them? Are you suggesting a metaphor of pushers and users?

 Nonoy Oplas 
 People are assets, not liabilities, so popn control is wrong. But a situation where I support RH,


 Ignorance is also wrong...And ignorant people become casualities of sickness, poverty etc....Education muna..

 Nonoy Oplas 
 No one stopping d popn control advocates from giving their own money & resources to inform d poor abt RH, why use govt coercion.

 rolando dalisay 
  wala nga sir pambayad sa education dahil kinurakot na ng mga h...y....p na politiko. Kaya ito dumadami pulubi!

 Nonoy Oplas 
  My pt exactly. Prob is lack of rule of law, not big popn. HK, Sing, Japan, US, etc benefit fr high RP popn.

 elizabeth angsioco 
Meet NANAYJocelyn. She's now dead 'cause Congress refuses 2  how many more shld die?Pls.RT. 

 Nonoy Oplas
 RH bill is a cure-all for all pregnant women to prevent death? There's no death-related cases in countries w/ RH/popn control?

See also:
Population Control 6: Debate with Filipino Freethinkers, November 06, 2011, and
Population Control 5: Sex Education, 7 Billion People, and Congestion, November 01, 2011.

1 comment:

…¡Deport all illegals overstaying in the Philippines!… said...

RH bill will be totally useless if more illegal immigrants/terrorists/criminals hide inside the Philippines. Regardless of whether they can pass as native-looking “Filipinos”, or are obviously foreign-looking, or are ethnically ambiguous.