Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Population Confusion

British Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Beckingham was in Iloilo last week to check on various UK-funded development projects. His first order of business upon arriving was to lay a wreath at the statue of his compatriot Nicholas Loney, who a century ago changed the destiny of Iloilo City by developing sugar into a major export crop. Before departing, Ambassador Beckingham made a statement to the media exhorting officials to double their efforts in curbing the region's population growth rate.

I don’t know where the good Ambassador got his data but Western Visayas today does not have a problem with its population growth rate. According to the Population Commission (PopCom), the current annual population growth rate of Region 6 is 1.56%, way below the national average of 2.36%. Likewise, the population rate of major cities in Region 6 are below the national average. Iloilo City, for example, is at 1.93% while Bacolod City is at 1.39%. In fact, some cities in Western Visayas suffer from negative growth rates. According to PopCom data, Silay City has a negative 2.76% growth rate while Sipalay City has a negative 0.64% rate. San Carlos City in Negros Occidental has the highest population growth rate at 3.34% followed by Talisay at 3.17%. I cannot see how we can further reduce our population growth rate in Western Visayas without compromising the future of our race. You see, a population growth rate of 2% is needed to replicate or perpetuate our species.

But I agree with Ambassador Beckingham that we should do something about the run-away population growth in the other regions of the Philippines. Overpopulation has a “multiplier effect” and is the root cause of most of our problems today: widespread poverty, pollution and environmental degradation, scarce employment and livelihood opportunities, inadequate basic services, poor student literacy, etc. There are simply too many people competing for scarce resources and we are producing more children than we can support.

But I differ with Ambassador Beckingham in the sense that I want us to gear our population management program towards encouraging college-educated Filipinos to produce more children while discouraging our less-educated countrymen from having too many children. This is because college-educated parents are most likely to produce college-educated children while poorly educated parents are most likely to produce poorly educated offsprings. The condition in the Philippines today is that less-educated Filipinos (who are generally less prepared financially and psychologically to raise children) are producing more children while our college-educated citizens are putting off having children. Moreover, our college-educated women are finding it hard to find suitable males to marry since Filipino males are generally adamant of marrying better-educated women. Our PopCom officials must find ways to reverse this cycle.

This "reverse" population management has been done before in Singapore by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. As Singapore became more developed and its citizens more educated, the population growth rate in the city-state decreased. So Lee Kuan Yew thought of setting up a Singaporean match-making agency to help young Singaporeans find suitable mates. Although he initially drew flak for using Singaporean government funds to establish a dating service for young Singaporeans, Lee Kuan Yew's proposal eventually gained public support and many young couples today are thankful for the government "match-making" service he started.

That is why I was intrigued with the proposal presented by anti-child abuse advocates in the United States to require prospective parents “a license to give birth.” Their idea is to require aspiring parents to undergo parenting classes, psychiatric evaluation, drug tests, etc. to determine if they are fit to be good parents. Their money-making abilities and financial status will also be scrutinized. After passing this exam, only then would the couple be allowed to have a child. As one advocate succinctly put it; ”You need a license to drive a car, to carry a gun, to practice a profession, have a dog, heck even to catch a fish....but any ass can be a parent.”

I know the idea sounds “fascist” and I am not sure whether the group is really serious or just trying to dramatize a point. And even if, by some miracle, they manage to have a law enacted mandating a “license to give birth” decree, I cannot imagine how it can be implemented. But I agree totally with what they are trying to illustrate, which is: parenting is a serious responsibility. Children are not “economic units” to be used as household help or income-generators but demanding wards who require careful care, emotional maturity and much money.

My heart aches everytime I see streetchildren, especially in Metro Manila. Seeing them sniffing rugby along major thoroughfares, the foremost thought that comes to mind is: where are the parents of these kids? I sometimes feel so angry that I want to see the irresponsible parents of these children in jail. Unfortunately, it will not solve but only aggravate the problem. In the end, the solution is for government to implement a massive population management program aimed towards educating couples on how to become good parents.


Anonymous said...

I don't know why I have read a lot of write ups about the City State of Singapore and how the Nation Progressed comparing it to some neighbors. Singapore is not a ideal Country to emulate. It is authoritarian. It can not even supply on its own, enough human resource to service its own needs. And being undemocratic country, the landscape could change at any time when the current rulers are gone and the power struggle begins.
As to the Ambassador Beckingham exhorting population management, that was exactly what he meant to Say. Management... and how you manage the population growth? To start everyone like you, have their own great idea on how to go about it. You started talking about regional concern when the Ambassador was talking about the National Concern. Now if each have some "very bright idea of their own" instead of a national concessus of how to go about the process of Population Management, then believe me, just like everything, you guys will be talking about it when the counry maybe have o total Pops of say l50 millions. By then you might have to go the "China Way"; one child per couple and if it's a girl, abort..thanks

taga ilog said...

Sa Singapore ay may ibat ibang religious groups.Nandyan ang buddhism, hindu, islam, christian, taoism at freethinker.

Ayon sa wikipedia (Religion in Singapore), ang bahagdan ng kanilang relihiyon ay nahahati sa:

Buddhism - 42.5%
Christianity - 14.6%
Islam - 13.9%
Taoism - 8.5%
Hinduism - 4%
Other Religions - 1.6%
No Religion - 14.8%

Kung iyong mapapansin ang "NO RELIGION = 14.8%" factor ay mabibilang sa FREETHINKER group.
Ayan ang kinabibiliban ko sa Singapore, ang mga Freethinker.
Samantalang dito sa Pilipinas, ay demonyo raw sila o tinuturing na mga satanista.

Sa palagay ko, ay may mas mataas na antas sa larangan ng pilosopiya ang mga Singporean kung ikukumpara sa mga Pinoy. Ang kanilang lipunan ay halu-halo, at kung dito sa Pinas ay "matatapon" daw ayon sa mga batikang pilosopo sa mga noon time show.

Bukod sa strategic location, "culture factor" kung bakit mas pinipili ng mga investor na mamuhunan sa Singapore at HK kaysa sa 'luzviminda'.

Ang authoritarian issue ay hindi matapos tapos na usapin yan sa internet.
TANONG KO SA INYO: Kapag nagpatawag ba ang AFP ng NATIONAL RESERVIST PROGRAM, marami kaya ang magvo-volunteer???Ang pag-abolish ng ROTC/CMT program sa College education ay isang indikasyon na ayaw ng mga kabataan natin na mag-reservist.

Sa totoo lang, na-witness ko ang August 09,2000 National Day sa Padang at napapailing ako sa tuwa ng makita ko sa mukha ng mga Singaporean ang tunay na kaligayahan. Nabakas din ang luha sa aking mga mata na sana ganito rin sa Pilipinas.
Kung ikukumpara ko ang Centennial Day noon 1998 sa na-experience ko sa Padang noong 2000, "wow!ang sarap pala maging asean"


Sinabi ko na ito noon sa kaibigan ko na Vietnamese, ang "AIDS SCARE AY EFFECTIVE LANG YAN SA IYONG MGA HINDI KRISTYANO". Dagdag ko pa, kayong mga laban at balakid sa layunin ng western interest(lalo na ang vatican), hindi kayo pinapayagan na dumami o lumobo pa ang population.

Kung iyong susuriin ang populasyon natin ay mas malaki pa sa mga British?Ayan siguro ang kinakatakot ni Beckingham!

Siguro ay may matututunan tayo sa Singapore kung gusto pa talaga natin na dumami pa ang ating lahi. Ito ang "5 C's": car, condominium, credit card, career at cellular phones. PERO HWAG NA TAYONG MAG-PAKA-KRISTIYANO.


Kung si Ian Buruma ay may Anglomania, ano naman ang tawag sa mga taong "ayaw na dumami pa ang mga Pinoy"???

Anonymous said...

Nagtataka lang ako kung bakit ayaw ni Amb.Beckingham na lumaki ang populasyon ng Western Visayas-Region 6 ?

Siguro ay may favorite syang ethnic group sa Philippines na gusto maging tagasunod nila Queen Elizabeth.

Iloilo City Boy said...

Thank you for your comments. I believe Asians can learn a lot from the SIngaporean experience because they are the first country in SOuthEast Asia to turn from a Third World into a First World country. ALthough chewing gum is illegal there, SIngaporeans enjoy one of the highest per capita incomes in Asia and their children are among the most literate in Asia. Here, Filipino children can chew gum but cannot get a decent education.

In the area of population management, President Arroyo recently announced that the pop. growth rate has declined from 2.23% to 1.98% but she was loudly criticized by detractors for making wrong assumptions based on erroneous data. This is the reason why I hesitated to bring that data up in my entry. But I believe Filipinos have reached their population "Tipping Point" and it is no longer hip to have large families here.

Ang tawag sa tao na ayaw dumami mga Pinoy ..... Pinoyphobia?

Anonymous said...

Mark my word, Singapore will soon have problems with their growing Islamic population just like Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, France, you name it!

Anonymous said...

Singapore is a very small country with a very small total population and ruled by an Authoritarian. Authoritarian could be good sometimes for a very small country and very easy to control and since the AUTHORITY controlS the Society's conduct to the wishes of the investing world, it makes the country economy progressive and in return make the people contented and happy. But the quetion is what happened if the Ruling Authoritarian Family is GONE? Can the Institution maintains the Status Que based on "strong arm rule". I live in a country about a hundred times the zize of Singapore, per Capita income much more than Her, but we also enjoy the Freest Society in the First World. The Lowest of the Crime Rate and even can smoke Marijuana legally. And our government doesn't depend on strong arm tactics of that "so-called" model City State society. One little "crisis" of its own and that country will not survive as the perpetually corrupt, but surviving democracy that is the Philippines. Try hard to straightened the Governance of the Philippines, reform her Justice system and each and everyone of you work collectively toward the common good and you are a better society than Singapore. You already have the rights and freedoms. Exercise them well and don't look at the artificial and superficial success of that little Authoritarian Regime...

Iloilo City Boy said...

So you're from the NEtherlands - the Land of the Free.... Marijuana! Where prostitution is legal. I also read that one political party there is planning to legalize child pornography there. That's swell!

Anonymous said...

Wrong guess, but it's ok, Netherland is only slightly bigger than Singapore, also a very small country, which is over-liberated to the point of nobody's taking her seriously no more. any group or political party in a true democratic country can plan anything immoral or criminal, but as long as its only in their mind no law is broken. Anyway we are celebrating our "freedom day" and getting my toys ready for a fun at the shooting range tonight, after watching the fireworks. good day, and it always my fervent hope that the Philippines, my other beloved country will soon wake up in her deep apathy before it is too late. thanks. btw marijuana was decriminalized and can be had with a prescription from a doctor for "medical" reason. And when it come to child abuse sexual and physical, and child pornography, we are the least tolerant, that the Authorities will mobilize the whole country police force for any missing child. And it was our anti-pornography task force that help the U.S. solved the mystery of that "child in the internet". We are not perfect yet, but way ahead of Singapore..