Sunday, August 12, 2012

Population Control 11: Church Coercion vs. State Coercion

After figuring in a number of debates this week and in previous weeks and months, about the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, this is one issue that is emerging: many pro-RH people hate what they call as "Church coercion", of demonizing people who support the RH while getting more donations and fees from the public. On the other hand, among the arguments that the anti-RH people use without mentioning any Church arguments (like I do), is highlighting State coercion. I noticed that when I raised this issue, a number of pro-RH are muted.

I am posting three threads of facebook debates below: from my wall, from Ferdie Bolislis' wall, and from Raissa Robles' wall. Again, another good reading materials for those who want to see the pros and cons of the bill. About 13 pages long, Enjoy reading.

(1) My facebook wall
exchanges from August 5 to 7, 2012:

People are assets, not liabilities. Government should focus on promulgating the rule of law, not in expanding bureaucracies and in population control,

Valli Faith Estacion Bibit Korak! Government should spend more on teaching your child about math and science and language, than it will on teaching your child about contraceptives. In the end, sex education is not really about giving information--- but rather about a politics of despair where the sex "experts" hope for some damage control in the areas of teen pregnancy and disease.

Doods De Los Reyes I think people can be even more of an asset instead of a liability if they don't have to scrimp for every last peso to buy basic commodities and pay for shelter and their children's education. Governments can allocate more resources to infrastructure if they don't have to subsidize so much for social welfare.

Nonoy Oplas Doods, if you checked my article, I showed there photos of (a) business permits required by various government bureaucracies, and (b) private property by the poor confiscated by some government agencies because they don't have enough government permits. Point -- people want to stand on their own, to get out of poverty, but government says it's a criminal activity unless they get various permits first.

Doods De Los Reyes Hi Nonoy, I think some of the points you made in your article are overly simplistic. For instance, "a bigger population means more workers and more entrepreneurs; more producers and more consumers" is not necessarily true -- not unless you mean the sort of labor and micro-entrepreneurship that does not require formal education. How many streetsweepers, ambulant vendors and fish vendors do we really need? Plus, it disagrees with your former point regarding overconsumption and overexploitation of resources -- more production is good for business but is arguably not good for sustainability of natural resources. It is also a big leap to go from population control to people remaining single and not having kids -- Filipinos will still marry and have kids, but maybe through a reeducation about family size vs economics they will think twice about having more than one kid. The notion that a lot of people will die anyway from natural disasters speaks more about overpopulation than the need to keep up our birth rate -- a lot of these people die because they live along riverbanks, under bridges, and in other unsafe areas not designated for residential purposes.

Nonoy Oplas hmmm, quickly Doods.
1. More people, more workers, more entrepreneurs "not necessarily true". Really? As of April 2012, total employed Filipinos, salary workers + managers + company owners = 37.84 million people, that's big.
2. I used the "over-exploitation of resources" in satire, not my own point of view.
3. I mentioned people being single or married/in relationship but have no kids, in relation to the suggestion of the bill that couples shd target only 2 kids. To keep the population momentum, some couples need to have plenty of children to balance replacement of couples who have no kids.
4. People living in riverbanks, under bridges, etc. is example of government failure. LGUs should enforce their zoning or residential regulations but they don't. That is why I expressly argued, govt shd focus on promulgating the rule of law, not in limiting population.

Doods De Los Reyes ‎1. What I meant was that a higher number of total consumers does not necessarily lead to more production and consumption in all sectors. A high population with low income
will result in high production and consumption of basic goods but not in luxury goods and services. The latter is more desirable as it would point to a healthier economy as more families have more disposable income.

It is not enough to count how many people have jobs, we should also track the circumstances under which they are working. 56.6% of the 37M do not have a college degree, which speaks of the quality of their employment/self-employment. Of the 37M workers, 7.3M or 19% are underemployed. 41% of the 37M are women which indicates a large proportion of wives needing to work instead of staying at home. About 29% are people 50 years of age or older, indicating a large proportion who need to keep working
despite their advanced age. Moreover, in 2008, a study showed that women in poor households tend to bear more children at an average of 5.2 compared to 1.9 children of women in rich households. So if the trend of more poor people bearing more children continues, the economic downspiral will not only be self-perpetuating but exponential.

3. Again, I think the idea that more Filipinos will not get married nor have children simply because there is a bill that recommends -- not mandates -- a maximum two children per couple. It is in the Filipino's nature to fall in love and get married to stay together, I don't think the urge to have a lot of children has any bearing in it. Filipinos will still married and have children, hopefully considering the economics of more children.

4. I agree. I should have said poverty incidence among large families instead of overpopulation for clarity. People will choose to live in precarious or illegal situations out of economic necessity. Still, if government did their job and less people died from natural disasters as a result, then population control would be even more necessary, wouldn't it? :)

Nonoy Oplas one point lang, para maiksi :-) "then population control would be even more necessary." Population control is not necessary. You work in Singapore, many Filipinos work abroad, because those countries have good policies on the rule of law but have bad policies on population. They need foreign workers and mangers because they lack local people to do such jobs. That is precisely what my paper argued: government should focus on promulgating the rule of law, go after criminals, thieves and killers, let the people work and do business in peace, and do not tinker with natural population growth.

Doods De Los Reyes  Yes, the population control in Singapore was a bit much but only because it failed to adjust and project accurately. They were protecting the meager land area they possess. Perhaps they also could not have predicted that their business advantages would result in their current prominence in the global economy that necessitated the entry of foreign workers to ensure continued growth. This only reinforces the idea that a big family should be a luxury and not an objective. Have means, have children.

Nonoy Oplas Precisely. Governments should focus on promulgating the rule of law -- the law against stealing, against murder, against corruption, against breach of contracts, and society can mainly progress, big or small population. That's how big population countries like Japan, US and Germany progressed. Their big population became a big pool of workers and entrepreneurs, big pool of producers and consumers, working and doing business under clear and predictable rules. Tinkering with population growth is not wise.

Doods De Los Reyes Ah, but remember that those three countries you cited were major participants in World Wars. The citizens of Japan and Germany had to come together to rise through the collateral damage of war. By redirecting their resources and efforts from war into rebuilding their countries, their citizens had the singlemindedness to get great things done. I'm sure not everything was legal during those tumultuous times though, in the aftermath of war the strict observance of law is usually overlooked.

(2) Ferdie Bolislis' fb wall
exchanges also on August 5-7, 2012.

Ferdie wrote,
If the RH bill passes, it means the country is ready for enlightenment and that the powerful are ready to give people freedom of choice. If not, it's just darkness and ignorance as usual.

Nonoy Oplas Hi Ferds, zero religious reason here, pure economics, so enjoy the tables and photos,

Ferdi Bolislis ‎ Most Filipinos have so little choice because they do not have the economic means to avail of better choices (which school their kids go to, whether to ride bus, jeep or taxi, go to the doctor or self-medicate, whether or not to sell their votes, etc etc). The RH bill will finally tell them, yes, you can space your children or choose to prevent pregnancy so that you can prepare your wife and kids for a better life situation. This is something the middle classes-- who have access to proper medical advice and, yes, contraceptives,-- know all along but the poor can only dream about because of the R. Catholic bishops' power over makers of public policy. The RH bill, if approved, will be a crack in the door of enlightenment. It will mean that reason has triumphed over superstition. Perhaps not entirely, given the medieval politics of our country, but just enough to be a lifesaver to mothers, children, and the entire population, regardless of what the priest says.

Nonoy Oplas Thanks Ruth. I assume you or your family and friends have (a) nannies for their kids, (b) helpers for the house, (c) drivers for the family or office, (d) other workers. Did these people come from households with only 1 or 2 kids? I bet not, most likely they come from households with 5 or more children. So you disagree that "people are assets"?

Ruth Francisco Sorry Nonoy, Just a few point to illustrate why I think the arguments are not convincing: (1) evidence (i can show you a list of economic/scientific studies on this) show that disaster risks can only turn into intense disasters (many people being killed) if there are big populations exposed (residing in rivers or sea) and vulnerable (poor). Disaster mitigation and adaptation are less costly if you have less exposed and vulnerable population; (2) Reason behind some economies reaping demographic dividend is not due to having big population per se but due to population dynamics (dependency-ratios), among other things, and Philippines has a different age profile than those other countries. Not because big population benefitted other economies means we will reap the same benefits too if we have bog pop. I would like to see a good analysis on the population dynamics in the country. I prefer a sustainable and pro-poor growth. Thanks.

Nonoy Oplas Re disaster risk, you are citing government failure. LGUs are not doing their job prohibiting people from living in esteros or river banks, but why are LGUs prohibiting people from entrepreneurship unless they get various permits first? Check the 2 photos I included, (a) various permits by government agencies, (b) private property confiscation of the poor by government because they don't have enough permits.

Countries have developed mainly because of their promulgation of the rule of law, protection of private property rights, not so much because they have small population. See the US and Japan.

Ruth Francisco On "people are assets," I'm sure you know that in growth economics QUALITY is more important than quantity. We don't just need people. We need quality HUMAN CAPITAL to fuel the engine.

Government failure (to educate people) has something to do with disaster vulnerability and exposure. It's a complex system of cause and effect. My only point is that having less population is not a recipe for big disasters, it's most usually the other way around (unless they are not exposed or vulnerable))

Nonoy Oplas So the people who take care of the kids of the middle class, the rich here are of low quality? If so, why do these people entrust their own kids to low quality people?

Ruth Francisco You don't want an economy of nannies, right. How many nannies can an economy employ? Most of those nannies should have become teachers (who can send their siblings to school) if only they had the chance to continue their schooling and get a degree.

Nonoy Oplas Whether nannies, teachers, factory workers, scientists, the point is that people are assets, not liabilities. I assume you or your siblings, other family members grew up without nannies and helpers as you don't show any appreciation of their value, then fine. For some households though, having a nanny or helper is a must even if they have only 1 or 2 kids.

Ruth Francisco I appreciate their indirect value to the economy but I want them to have a better chance of a brighter future, a job that pays them well and that will support them when they retire. I want them to be able to look after their own kids who are also our future gen (not nannies) :) Mobility of labor is high in this country, I dont see anything wrong with importing nannied if we must (an unlikely but not impossible scenario though).

Nonoy Oplas Ruth, permission to use our exchange for a blog post, plain copy-paste, zero alteration whatsoever, like this exchange, cheers,

Ruth Francisco Nonoy, sure but please edit the typos and omitted words :) Mahirap magtype sa mobile phone :P thanks

And if I may add: Your working-age population can be a productive asset, but can be a burden, too, if unproductive. By enabling couples to make an informed decision over their family size, our country's human capital is more likely to become more productive over time. In a way, it's a question of having more assets (more productive human capital) or greater liabilities (more unproductive human capital) in the future.

Valli Faith Estacion Bibit Ferds, this is my beef with the RH Bill: The RH Bill explicitly funds the procurement and distribution of oral contraceptives. It classifies hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and injectables as “essential medicines,” including them in the National Drug Formulary, and subsidizes their procurement. But the idea that contraceptives and devices are essential medicines is fundamentally flawed. Contraceptives (some with abortifacient effects), do not treat any medical condition. To construe them as such is simply DISHONEST.

Nonoy Oplas Valli, people just want coercion. They have a great idea, everyone else should finance it via taxation. You don't like my proposal? So long as my proposal becomes a law, you HAVE to finance it, you have to obey the rules and coercion involved.

Ruth Francisco It is a practice of the WHO (World Health Organization) to include FP supplies as "essential medicines/supplies", which is based on scientific studies on efficiency and efficacy, and also cost-effective. Otherwise, LGUs will have difficulty to procure these supplies. Use of such commodities is recommended but non-compulsory. No coercion. A subsidy to this commodity is actually an indirect subsidy to future public school students, public health provision, etc (an increase in per capita subsidy!).

Valli Faith  Still, the idea that contraceptives and devices are essential medicines is fundamentally flawed and dishonest.

Nonoy Oplas No coercion in use but there is full coercion in financing its procurement. If resources are limited as they are, less vaccines against animal bites, against malaria, more procurement of contraceptives and injectibles.

Ruth Francisco These FP commodities can save mothers' lives. Why wouldn't you want to tag them as essential commodities? IUD and injectables do not have any abortifacient effects. Oral contraceptives, if NOT properly used, can potentially have such effect. But that's why you have RH education component

Nonoy Oplas What stops the pro-RH guys, tens of milions of them anyway, to procure those condoms, contraceptives on their own, distribute these for free? Just do it voluntarily, the same way that GK builds houses for the poor voluntarily, zero legislation and taxation involved.
August 6 at 3:31pm · Like

Ruth Francisco None. But doing it through the health sys is the most effective and cost-effective approach. More importantly, managing our health and population--saving mothers' lives-- should be everyone's concern. Building houses for the poor isn't an urgent public concern.

Nonoy Oplas We have zero RH law all these years, PH population keeps expanding, the number of mothers keep expanding, and the RH camp says mothers are dying everywhere.
August 6 at 3:46pm · Like

Ruth Francisco

Maternal mortality rate rose in 2011, says DOH | Inquirer News
More Filipino mothers are dying during childbirth, underscoring their “unmet nee...See More

Ruth Francisco ‎"Mortality rate for Filipino mothers has increased to 221 per 100,000 live births in 2011 from 162 per 100,000 live births in 2009." I don't have the exact numbers but I'm sure that the rate is highest among the poorest.

Nonoy Oplas At such alarming rate, PH population should be declining, not rising. But our popn is rising, about 1.8 million a year net of death. Which means some data are simply fucked up to produce some hypes and alarm.

Ruth Francisco Sa totoo lang under-estimate pa yang maternal death counts na yan! Try going to a poor town Nonoy and ask them how many mothers have died recently due to pregnancy-related concern. I'm sure they don't have any incentive to be not truthful about it.

Valli Faith  Why wouldn't you want to tag them (contraceptives) as essential commodities? Hormonal birth control medications prevent pregnancy through the following ways: 1. By blocking ovulation (release of an egg from the ovaries), thus preventing pregnancy (contraceptive) and 2. By altering mucus in the cervix which will make it harder for sperm to travel further (contraceptive). The next two mechanism of action however takes effect after fertilization — WHERE LIFE BEGINS. Besides, pray tell, WHAT MEDICAL CONDITION do contraceptives treat for them to qualify as essential drugs? It is dishonest, it is flawed.

Nonoy Oplas Current alarming maternal deaths are still understated? Then PH population should be declining further, less mothers, less babies, less population. Where's the alarm then?

Ruth Francisco In many maternal deaths, mothers die after after several unwanted and mistimed pregnancies. More babies with no mothers. That's alarming!

Ruth Francisco If properly used, all 3 take effect before fertilization. Some drugs/supplies are preventive (anti-malaria, contraceptive, anti-tetanus); some are curative (analgesic, antbiotic). Contraceptives help prevent pregnancy complications and maternal deaths

Nonoy Oplas More babies with no mothers, since the 40s, since the 80s, until now... I think this is fictional. If it's true, many of those babies will ultimately die, and PH population should be low now, not rising.
I like the Gawad Kalinga model. Realists and bleeding hearts join together to build homes for the poor, zero legislation, zero taxation, zero coercion involved. Why can't the pro-RH camp follow this, there are millions of them anyway. Buy those condoms and other contraceptives and give to the poor for free. They do RH work with little or zero political hassles, no need to coerce and force other people into financing something that they do not support. More coercion is more dictatorship actually.

Ruth Francisco Nonoy, don't speculate. Do the number crunching, it's so simple! Free data is widely available. Show us your simulations to prove them wrong about the numbers.

Nonoy Oplas PH population: 1980 48M, 1990 62M, 2000 78M, 2010 94 M,
So if "more babies with no mothers" is true, the above numbers would not be possible.

Ruth Francisco No the aggregates carry a lot of information. In other words, it doesnt carry any weight to prove by contradiction. Look at the disaggregated population by 5-year age group, by sex over the years!

Nonoy Oplas Many of the female babies 20, 30, 40 years ago, are now mothers. If many of those babies died or were dilapidated, PH population would probably be below 70M, not nearly 100M.
August 7 at 7:12am · Like

Ruth Francisco Entertaining:

Nonoy Oplas There is one important point the author forgot. RH bill is wrong because it requires coercion. GK, Rotary projects, books for the barrios, etc. are really good humanitarian projects for the poor with zero coercion, zero legislation, zero taxation involved. Statists like those in freethinkers and many RH supporters simply think volunteerism is impossible, so the solution is more government, more government, more government. Not cool.

(3) Raissa Robles' fb wall
exchanges today, August 12, 2012

Nonoy Oplas There is no Gawad Kalinga bill, no Books for the Barrios bill, no Solidarity during Flooding/Disaster bill, no Medical/Dental missions bill, with lots of mandatory/coercive provisions, with lots of tax money to be allocated, or lots of new bureaucracies created to implement them. These things were moving with zero legislation, zero coercion, zero taxation involved.

Evangeline  Katakut takot ang pananakot ng simbahan sa mga Pilipino na makasalanan ang nilalaman ng RH bill. Ahhh kung mababawasan nga lamang ang mga manloloko na humahakot ng kaunting natitirang pera ng mahihirap, na na be-brainwashed na na sila ay pagpapalain kung ibibigay ang kwarta nila sa simbahan.

Anton  RH Bill argument is nothing but a waste of all our energy and the people's money.. Health centers already give away free condoms, and free fertilization pills. It is now in the hands of health workers how to educate those within their jurisdiction.

Nonoy Oplas Church coercion is easier to evade. Just quit being catholic and avoid all its doctrines, join other religions, be an agnostic, etc., the choices are many. Government coercion though applies to all, Catholic or non-Catholic or even atheist. Lahat bayad via taxation, with any new programs and subsidies of the govt. Educ for the poor, healthcare for the poor, housing for the poor, tractors and irrigation for the poor, credit and pension for the poor, cash transfer for the poor. Soon, more condoms for the poor, and possibly too, iPad for the poor?

Evangeline I´d like the tractors to be contributed by the government to the tillers of the soil and farmers to relieve the Carabaos from that horrendous slavery. Pero iPad? He heheh! Sus sosyal naman na ├Żan.

August Caparas Fernando I've remained a Roman Catholic; just that I ceased to believe in priests, bishops, etcetrimingoles na mga rapist at abusers na yan na meron pang kung magmura e kala mo walang ina!

Alvin Anton, not all health centers can do that. Some local government has anti-RH policies, like that in Manila. Other local government are also proposing the same like that in Bataan and in Alabang (Baranggay level). Not all health centers have supplies for family planning, like that in Abra. I would know because I have visited them.

August  I go on believing in God, the Lord Almighty. But not in those "Men of Cloth, na Laging Makakati! ;)

Nonoy Oplas But there is no limit to government profligacy and stupidity. The cost of all government projects that they invented and implemented, whether we support them or not, does not come from their pockets. On the other hand, their pockets and bank accounts become fatter as they invent new programs and new subsidies. There are too many government coercion already, should we add with another RH coercion?

August  Alvin, simple prob, simple sol. Go where there is what YOU need. Case closed. NEXT!! ;)

Ricky  Sa ngayon isang anak marami na, mag plano, mag siguro, walang masama kung kaya mo,,,,,,

Alvin  Not that simple. Don't make the provisions of the RH Bill to only providing family planning service limited to contraceptives. RH Bill is more than that.

Vander  though i don't need to avail the benefits, i urge our leaders to pass that bill. kawawa yung mga cannot afford to procure contraceptives. okay lang dun sa may pambili. let us all advocate for a corrupt-free PHL so as we don't get paranoid thinking of KUPIT on the budget by our implementors...:)

August  Alvin, sorry, I'm referring to the lack of "supplies" you mentioned. I don't bother with this bill anyway. Walang paki sakin ang gobyerno -- whatever I wanna do with my semen, hehehe. Bakit mamanmanan ba nila ako sa kama? Duh!

Alvin A national policy would address the issue of local governments making their own anti-RH policies that are detrimental to poor women's & families' health. Most of the provision of the bill is not for those who can afford to buy pills or condoms in stores, it is not for those who are well-educated on sexuality but it is for those who cannot afford to plan for their family, not much knowledgeable on their sexuality and to those who cannot access to basic reproductive health services because health centers are far, or there is no available one in disaster-stricken areas. The RH Bill is for those who cannot afford all these.

Especially those who are submerged in the poor communities or have aided lots of women who cannot access to RH services.

August  Amen. Basta saken, the less the govt intrude on MY privacy, the better for me. Less laws, more freedoms -- my Thing!

Alvin  The RH Bill gives that freedom to every Filipino, to decide whatever they want to do in their own privacy. But when people would need information & health services relating to their reproductive & sexual health, the government should be ready in providing correct information of all possible, legal and medically-safe interventions and let the educated & empowered public make their informed choice.

Rizal  i hope the church could put the interest of the people especially the poor ones, ahead of their own interest.......

August  Alvin, we do not need LAWS to help. Real, honest-to-goodness help comes from pure helping kind hearts, not Congress. Wouldn't you say so yourself? Enuf with words. Actions are louder. More effective. Long-lasting.

Is MY point hard to understand here? I'm beginning to give up. Where has understanding/minds/brains/mental faulties gone? Hehehehe! :) Bye. Enuf for me.

Alvin Of course helping does not need legislation. Legislation is needed to ensure that every Filipino deserves to get the same quality service the government can afford to offer where ever they are in the country. Apart from legislation, the greater challenge lies - implementation.

August  NAKUPOW! I GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!! HELPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!

Bendz  feed them the right info on RH Bill and let them decide for themselves! yun lang!

Alvin  should complement good actions, good actions should complement good laws. One is not indispensable from the other.

Nonoy Oplas About 19 pages long of debate on the issue,

August  Yeah, Nonoy, and I'm beginning to paraphrase The Bard, seems like "much ado about nothing. Talk, talk, talk, everywhere... but not enough to hear!" If you get my drift. ;)

Nonoy Oplas Yep August. As I stated at the start, there are no Gawad Kalinga bill, Books for the Barrios bill, Solidarity during Flooding bill, yet volunteerism is working well. When it comes to RH, it should be done via coercion and legislation, full distrust in volunteerism.

August  Yo rite, Nonoy pal. Also pls go visit KAYA NATIN of Harvey Khe and Mixie Rivera. A purely private, sans-legislation noble understaking by men and ladies driven only by their desire to HELP -- sans compensation din ata. ;)

Alvin  The Philippines has a Volunteering Law.

Nonoy Oplas It's usually those voluntary, charity work with zero legislative lobbying, zero political noise, zero media posturing, that get done much faster. If Tony Meloto waited for a GK bill to become a law, by now he and his volunteers would have not built a single house for the poor. If the RH advocacy was done many years without legislative lobbying and noise, the proponents could have cut some population growth by now.

August Alvin, enuf with YOUR LAWS! HAHAHAHA!
You don't need LAWS to volunteer, like you don't need LAWS to breathe, hijo!

Alvin Yes definitely, we don't need laws to volunteer, but we need them to regulate and protect our volunteers from exploitation.

August  Yeah, and GK has "branches" in New York. My daughter, a specialist pediatric nurse there, has volunteered year-round the last couple years. SANS URGING, EGGING, PUSHING BY ANY NEW YORK STATE OR FEDERALL LAWS!Crystal?

See also:
Population Control 7: I am Supporting the RH bill, November 23, 2011
Population Control 8: People and Economic Growth, January 16, 2012
Population Control 9: On so-called "Expanding Choices" for Couples, August 01, 2012
Fat-Free Econ 19: Population Decontrol, Not RH Bill, August 08, 2012
Population Control 10: Anger and Coercion in Pushing RH Bill, August 10, 2012

1 comment:

GabbyD said...

of course i agree that there is room to streamline licensing reqs for business. but you cannot believe that this is the number 1 thing stopping people from getting into business. the very existence of the underground economy belies that.