September 18th, 2008
A Position Paper
Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood
and Population Development Act of 2008
As introduced by
Honorable Edcel C. Lagman
We are one with you in our pursuit to alleviate poverty
and to seek solution to move the country towards economic progress.
We are respectfully submitting to you the findings of our study.
These affirmed and substantiate our stand that H.B. 5043
does not give us the right solutions to our real problems.
Faith Buenaventura M.D.
Lili Rose Embuscado, MS Pharmacology, UP Manila
Dess Narvaez, BS Economics, UP Diliman
Mihlgrace Samonteza, BS Architecture, University of Santo Tomas
Sherla Najera, UP Diliman Faculty
Cherry Cristobal, UP Diliman School of Statistics Faculty
Paulyn Duman, UP Diliman College of Law
Sopfia Guira, UP Diliman College of Law
Celine Socrates, BS Political Science, UP Diliman
Isabel Diaz, BS Education, UP Diliman
Ingrid Silapan, BS Computer Science, UP Diliman
Pia Lorenzo, BS Home Economics, UP Diliman
Camille Diola, BA Journalism, UP Diliman
Sofie Im, BS Biology, UP Diliman
Noreen Bautista, BS Computer Technology Management, Ateneo
Berna Angangco, BS Political Science, Ateneo
Kathy Navarrete, BS Management Engineering, Ateneo
Yna Shalimar Sta.Maria, BA Humanities, Ateneo
15 September 2008
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1. The first question is, is the population significantly increasing?
The proposed bill assumes that our population growth rate is increasing. However, statistics show otherwise. According to data from the National Statistics Office (NSO), the average population growth rate in the period 2000 to 2007 in 2.04 and the lowest since the 1960s. Furthermore, it is decreasing over the years and the projected average annual population growth rate for the period 2005 to 2010 is 1.95 percent. Based on these facts, it is evident that there is no need for this measure to reduce the claimed increasing population.(National Statistics Office Manila page last updated April 21, 2008. http://www.census.gov.ph/data/pressrelease/2008/pr0830tx.html)
2. If there is a decrease in the average population growth rate, why is it so crowded in Manila?
There are more people in the National Capital Region and other highly urbanized cities located in Metro Manila. NSO declared that “Calabarzon, NCR, and Central Luzon comprised more than one-third of total population”. As opposed to this, twelve other regions have population growth rates below the national figure, 2.04%. One cannot conclude the problem of overpopulation with only the basis of a few urbanized cities which are indeed populous.
3. Do we really become poor with more people?
The Filipinos are not fairly distributed in all parts of the country, leaving some places congested, and others with few inhabitants. Just take a look at how congested Manila is, with 14 million people as of 2000, and how the province of Southern Leyte only has 360,160 Filipinos (NSO, 2000 Census of Population and Housing), considering a land area of 1,734 km2, a lot bigger than Manila’s (38.3 km2 ) We say that the appropriate indicator to use in order to make valid comparisons is population density (i.e. population per unit of land area).
Still, even with this appropriate gauge, one still cannot use a country’s population density as the scapegoat for poverty. Using this indicator one would find, for example, that Belgium has a very high population density, Pakistan is in the middle, and Somalia ranks very low. Of these countries, Belgium is not the one with the most difficulties. Nor does Somalia have the fewest. Clearly, just looking at population or even population density, tells us very little about a society’s problem, all the more how it causes poverty in the country.
The problem here is not overpopulation, but defective resource allocation and unequal wealth distribution. It is not scarcity that we’re facing, because it is not experienced by the entire population. 1% of the country’s population owns more than 50% of the country’s wealth, while the majority who are below poverty line are the once facing scarcity.
As Mahatma Gandhi says, “there are enough resources in the world to satisfy everyone’s need but not enough resources to satisfy one man’s greed.”
To read the rest of the paper, click here.