Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Population Control 9: On so-called "Expanding Choices" for Couples

The Reproductive Health (RH) bill or Responsible Parenthood bill was the most applauded topic when the President delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) a week ago. Which means majority of those inside the Batasan were gung ho on taxpayers-funded, large scale population control measure.

The debate for and against the measure spills in various fora, including facebook. A friend, Peter Casimiro, posted this in his fb wall last July 23:
The demographic time beginning to explode. Time for Pinas to use leverage wisely!!

I commented on it, below are our exchanges from July 23 to 30. Posting this with Peter's permission, thanks Peter.

Nonoy Oplas That is why government-sponsored or taxpayers' funded population control measure, aka RH bill, is wrong. People are assets, not liabilities.

Peter Casimiro LOL!! on the bogeying of the holes Michael!. So true on the natural resources issue as well, and particularly's already wrecking havoc in some parts of the world (ex. India). Hi Nonoy! I somewhat agree with you on the population control measure, but the RH Bill isn't a population control measure per se, it's really on women's reproductive health and on pre-natal care (both mother and child). It certainly includes a bunch of family planning measures, but even that is much needed in Pinas, as it's more of a resource issue (closely tied to Michael's point as well). Just the simple math of our pop sustainable issue throws us into a tizzy - Pinas total land area is the size of the state of Arizona which has only 6 million people and Pinas has way over 90 million people - we can't sustain that "well" as it is, what more if the growth rate stays at the current rate? (that's "partly" why we import a lot of agri products, rice, etc.).

Nonoy Oplas When government spends billions per year for NFA subsidy to sell cheaper rice, it gives "more options" to rice consumers. When govt subsidizes by at least P5 B/year MRT alone, it gives "more optioins" to commuters whether they take the bus or jeep or MRT. All govt subsidy programs are giving "more options" to their supposed beneficiaries, the only people who have zero option whether to finance those programs or not are the taxpayers. So what prevents the pro-population control people to pitch in their own money to buy condoms, pills, maternal facility, etc.? Why do it via coercion?

Peter Casimiro Haha..Nonoy who's being coerced? The bill provides only the "opportunity" to take the benefits of subsidized care, your presumption of coercion is perhaps "somewhat" true if these subsidies were only possible if tax rates were increased. As to your point, there is nothing that prevents those who wish to help from helping, the problem is it isn't sufficient. Now since the target audience of the RH bill are mostly the poor who do not have the personal resources to seek such medical care then are you saying that assisting to provide such care from those able to pay taxes (which by it's very nature is a form of wealth redistribution) is a form of "coercion"? If so, then all other uses for taxation is also a form of "coercion". Who then would build the roads you drive on? the police force you rely on for safety? the teachers that impart knowledge on our children?..if its coercion..I'd say allow more of it..because there isn't a single country in this world that has successfully developed into a stable nation without such coercion.

Nonoy Oplas Sure, I do not advocate zero government and hence, zero taxation, zero coercion. I advocate limited govt and hence, limited or minimal taxation and coercion. If you read the explanatory note of the previous bills (Cong. Lagman, etc.), they were very explicit in saying that the country's fast population growth is a problem, that we are now the world's 12th largest country in terms of population size, is a problem. Hence, the need to control population. Since this looks "unpalatable" to control population, they called it "RH" or "pro choice" bill when it's clear, control population. China did that, Singapore and Japan did that. And precisely why you posted that article in the first place -- that countries like the Philippines with fast population have the advantage. Check what you posted again.

Peter Casimiro Nonoy show me where providing the ability for women to manage their reproductive health is expressly a coercive action for the general public? By inference as well since the population is not sustainable vis a vis resources why not provide the public with better health / reproductive care?

Nonoy Oplas I don't like being coerced to pay for those condoms, contraceptives, etc. If I want to help I will buy those things by myself and distribute to some people, or donate to a charity organization, etc. You want population control with more contraceptives? What stops you from doing it yourself? Why force other people who do not believe in that method, via taxation then appropriation to PopCom, govt hospitals, DOH, etc.?

Peter Casimiro Because there is no other way to help the people help themselves, it's crisis management 101 Nonoy, look there isn't a country in the world that doesn't have some form of public option RH care, simply because the lower tier of Econ strata can not afford to manage it on their own accord

Nonoy Oplas What stops you from helping those people themselves? Other guys now will come, "help the Mangyans", "help the blind", "help the autistic", "help the turtles and dolphins", etc. All of these have valid reasons one way or another. Endless coercion and taxation to help these things? Perhaps 75% personal income tax rate won't be sufficient, 90%? full socialism?

Peter Casimiro Haha nothing stops me from helping them that has no baring on the issue Nonoy. The key thing is the goverent is the only entity capable of tackling such a large issue and the end argument here is - you pay a little now to help ensure that a crisis doesn't explode or you don't pay anything now and risk a crisis costing everyone even more so later on. Its as simple as that if you are a citizen of a society you have no choice but to participate in shared sacrifices...and yes also in shared success.

Nonoy Oplas You keep contradicting yourself Peter. In the article you posted originally, it says or implies, popn control ala China Japan is wrong, while no explicit population control countries like the PH is cool. Now you want large-scale, government sponsored population control.

James Where is the contradiction? China and Japan overdid theirs, end of story. Our population is growing at an alarming rate hence the need for population control. Its not supposed to be an outright ban on procreation but an implementation of moderation before our resources are no longer able so sustain our growth.

Nonoy Oplas The contradiction is posting an article that shows population control is wrong, then arguing later that govt-sponsored population control is desirable. Soon, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, even China, will be begging for more workers from the Phils, Indonesia, etc with their "alarming rate" of population growth. If they won't, then let robots, government bureaucrats, and population control advocates take care of their tens of millions of ageing people.

Peter Casimiro Nonoy the two are not the same, there is a stark difference between aging demographics which is a result of "targeted" efforts to reduce population in a long term basis (1 child policy) where as RH bill is primarily a reproductive health care bill (prenatal care etc) and has components for family planning which is not the same nor anywhere near 1 child policy. The argument of being overly populated or not is also a separate yet valid one, from simple stats pinas is overly populated (pop / sq km, food shortage, etc) some of that can be ameliorated by econ opportunities (ie cheap laborr pool thus migration of manuf) but it is not enough. The essential argument is whether private sector can resolve these issues on their own or not - the unequivocal answer is no

And last night, a friend, Dory Raterta, who used to head the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) posted this in her fb wall, and my counter-arguments after.
All couples should be given the information to help them decide on how they will address the demands of responsible parenthood.The right to plan one's family should be respected, protected and fulfilled by the State since this is a basic right.Those who cannot afford to pursue the options for FP must be helped by the State.

Nonoy Oplas Dory, why not admit that this is a government-sponsored population control measure? Almost all of the pro-RH guys I've heard are freaky about the "fast population growth", "unsustainable population", "heavy toll on resource depletion", etc. and thus, population should be controlled, via tax money.

The default mode is this: people are assets, not liabilities. More people, more assets, more workers, more entrepreneurs, more producers, more consumers. Those who steal and kill are clear liabilities, then govt should get them and enforce the rule of law, the law protecting private property rights, protecting human lives. Stopping the creation of more babies via taxes and various government bureaucracies is not wise.

I assume you have house helper, or nanny for your kids when they were small. Did they come from families with just 1 or 2 kids? I bet no. Most likely they come from families with 5 or more children, what the pro-RH guys call as "excess population" or "unwanted pregnancies" because the state did not provide condoms, pills, etc. to their parents. But look who benefit now from those "unwanted pregnancies."

Cecile People who are afraid of giving the family the choice of how many children they will have are so miserably brainwashed. What is wrong with a couple deciding how many children they will have and when? As we have seen, they are asking the Government for information and services. Why deny them that? Let us stop listening to those that want to control decisions of the family. Government going in the right direction to protect their basic rights.

Nonoy Oplas People who are afraid of putting their money where their mouth is are brainwashed. For every "bright" idea they can think, they believe everyone else should finance that idea via taxation and coercion. What stops them from buying those condoms, pills, etc. on their own and distribute to those who need them? Why coerce everyone else, including those who do not support their bright idea?

Rhedgy If the State down to the bgy level will honestly deliver the basic services to the communities and resources fairly distributed........

Nonoy Oplas Right, there is government failure in healthcare celivery so maternal death is high, there is government failure in public education so the youths' morality or knowledge on sex education is low, etc. If such government failures were not addressed for decades until now, what makes people think that such government failure will not be repeated once the RH bill becomes a law?

Cecile If I had 10 children, I probably will have to send some of them to work at an early age. Thank goodness, with proper planning, I only have 3 so I was able to be a hands-on parent and send them all to good schools. I wish the same for all our citizens. This is a very personal family decision and I wish all couples to be empowered to enjoy good quality of life with their children. Government and society should help make this a reality.

Nonoy Oplas I only have 2 kids, thanks to our yaya who takes care of our 2 kids as me and my wife go to work. Our yaya came from a family with 7 children. Without a yaya and helper, me or my wife must give up work, which reduces the number of workers in the formal sector. Some couples are happy with just 1 or 2 kids, some are happy with 5 or more kids, to each his own. Now when government intervenes to tell people that they need to control procreation because our population growth is at an "alarming" rate, and use taxpayers' money for this large-scale activity, even those who do not support population control are forced to finance it via taxation, that's how you create more problems and conflict in society.

Peter and James were explicit in their arguments above that the Philippines' population growth is alarming or unsustainable. Them plus the points made by Dory and Cecile above, always argue that the RH bill is a "pro-choice" bill, expanding the options for the poor.

"Expanding choices for the people", let us see. If government creates more public schools from kinder to college, that is expanding the choice of the students and their parents, whether to attend private schools or various government schools and universities. If government creates more hospitals (local governments or DOH operated), that is expanding the choice of patients and their families, whether to stay home and recover or go to private hospitals or go to government hospitals. If government will keep subsidizing the MRT and LRT and bring down the train fare, that is expanding the choice of commuters, whether to take the jeepneys or buses or ride the train.

In short, to argue that the RH bill is expanding the choice for the people is a no brainer. Because all government subsidies, all government programs funded by taxes, are expanding the choice of the people, at little or zero direct cost to them  Somebody else is paying the bill, including the salaries and perks of the legislators who will enact that bill, and the various bureaucracies, local and national, who will implement it down to the barangay and household levels. If surveys upon surveys will say that 70 percent, 80 percent or so of the Filipinos surveyed are supporting government-sponsored RH, that is no surprise. In fact one would be surprised why only 70 percent or so and not 99 percent.

The only people who have zero choice in all these government so-called "pro-choices" programs and subsidies, are the taxpayers. I do not support population control, I do not support subsidizing the lazy, I do not support MRT subsidy, I do not support huge and thick government bureaucracies. But I have zero choice, I keep paying various taxes and fees as imposed by the government, to finance all these.

So what "pro choice" are they talking about?

Finally, here are portions of that bloomberg report that Peter earlier posted:

... The so-called demographic dividend from a rising supply of young workers is one reason Japan’s second-largest shipbuilder expanded in the Philippines, where workers are on average half the age of its Japanese employees. Tsuneishi is considering Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar for another shipyard, said Hitoshi Kono, chief of the company’s local operation.

Asia’s manufacturing powerhouses -- Japan, South Korea and China -- are among the fastest-aging countries in the world, while developing nations in Southeast Asia are among the youngest in the region. As factories, jobs and investment flow south to tap cheaper labor, growth in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations is poised to accelerate, propelling the area’s currencies and fueling consumer and property booms, Bank of America Corp. says.

“The demographic dividend is over for Japan and Korea, and it will be over for China soon,” said Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief economist at Itochu Corp., Japan’s third-largest trading company. “It’s happening now in the Asean area, and it will continue for some time.”...

See also:
Population Control 3: People are Assets, d/w Paul Ehrlich, September 12, 2011
Population Control 4: "Excess People" and Government, October 26, 2011
Population Control 5: Sex Education, 7 Billion People, and Congestion, November 01, 2011
Population Control 6: Debate with Filipino Freethinkers, November 06, 2011
Population Control 7: I am Supporting the RH bill, November 23, 2011
Population Control 8: People and Economic Growth, January 16, 2012

Responsible parenthood cannot be legislated, Part 3, May 22, 2011
Responsible parenthood cannot be legislated, Part 4, July 21, 2011
Responsible parenthood cannot be legislated, Part 5, August 08, 2011

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