My Population Explosion.
By Frank A Hilario
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The Philippine Solon is Congressman Satur Ocampo, known to be a leftist (no offense meant); the NGOs are EnGendeRights spoken for by lawyer Clara Rita A Padilla who is Founder and Executive Director, and the Forum for Family Planning and Development spoken for by its President Ben de Leon. Strange bedfellows? Not really. It looks to me like a modern if miniature Noah’s Ark of Rights sailing on friendly seas: human rights, women’s rights, social rights. Sail on!
Congressman Ocampo is one of three members of the Philippine Congress visiting
ANN tells me the 3-man party is that of Ocampo, who is President of Bayan Muna Party and a former journalist; Congressman Crispin Beltran, who is Anakpawis Party List Representative and former Chair of Kilusang Mayo Uno, a ‘progressive’ labor center in the Philippines; and Luz Ilagan, who is Gabriela Women’s Party List Representative and among the pioneers of the Women’s Rights Movement in Mindanao.
Thanks for the introduction, ANN of Winnipeg. But no thanks to Noah’s Ark. Honest intentions are not good enough. I don’t think all the Canadian parliamentarians in
Borrowing from UP Law Dean Ricardo Pascual of the 1960s, I say: ‘You are free to swing your human rights short of my nose!’ (You can read the Dean’s original quote in my endnote, below.) If we don’t have respect for each other, starting at home, so long, human rights! So long, Solon. And so, long corruption.
If you advocate a program for human rights, you must also advocate a program for population control. A woman has the right to her own body. It’s only logical. But Sir, or Madam, as the case may be, remember that abortion is a crime not against humanity but against the human rights of the unborn baby, not to mention the savagery inflicted on the body of the poor (or rich) mother.
D’Jay Lazaro tells me the NGOs are telling my President GMA’s administration that it ‘should implement a serious, long-term population program – one that promotes all sorts of contraception, and not just natural family planning methods, especially with a recurring rice crisis that the country has had to face in recent years.’ That’s logical. If you divide so many million Filipinos (80M) with so many million kilos of rice, you have only so much per head, right? Right, if you use your head.
But, you are applying The Law of the Average, and that is a bad law – Congress didn’t pass it. And why is that? You are assuming that all the 80M have equal access to food, and that each Filipino eats about as much as the other Filipino. Access is the crucial factor, not amount. The Hilarios' Dozen have been eating only 2 meals a day for 5 years or more now – a choice; others have been eating only 2 meals a day – no choice; others have been gorging every single day – a choice of gluttony. There is no average life. Life is not fair because we choose not to make it. We don’t share as much as we should. Charity doesn’t begin at home.
Not only that. Life is not all food! You are applying mathematics to a social phenomenon; you are resurrecting a dead law called the Malthusian theory of overpopulation passed on as law since 1798: The tendency of the human population is to outstrip food supply, since the growth of the population is exponential while the growth of the food supply is linear. Mathematics is an exact science. The rabbit will always run faster than the carrot.
Let me try other metaphors: East is East and West is West and never the Twain shall meet. The ability of crops to multiply is hopeless against the desire of humans to multiply. Duh!
We can’t get away from mathematics, can we? We can. Thomas Robert Malthus predicted a population crash by the mid-19th century. He was wrong. In fact, living standards increased 60 times since 1820 while the European population increased 3 times in the 18th century (ANN, May 26, 2007, oneminute.rationalmind.net).
But Malthus is convenient. His theory justifies the current order – the problem is not with the State of Being but with the People, the Poor, especially ‘the pests or dregs which God in His infinite goodness created and very fondly breeds in Manila’ – our national hero Jose Rizal said that (in his subversive book Noli Me Tangere, Ma Soledad Lacson-Locsin’s translation, 1996; guess the page where Rizal said that). The problem is not with the Status Quo and the Money Lenders; it is with the Borrowers – there are too many of them, and many of them don’t know enough to pay back. The problem is not with the People: the problem is with the Number of People. It’s Mathematics.
With his theory, Malthus predicted mass starvation; it hasn’t happened yet but, let’s give Malthus the benefit of the doubt, who knows, in our time? If so, what is our own Department of Agriculture under Secretary Arthur Yap doing trying to improve food production in the
But since I’m an equal-opportunity thinker, I think Vasectomy! Ligation! Condom! should be the triple battlecry of the whole world, but especially of our Roman Catholic Philippines, these Prudes of the
Population and poverty: an explosive combination? If China is overpopulated, much more so Taiwan, which has a population density 5 times higher than China – and yet, Taiwan produces many times more per capita than China (Abid Ullah Jan, July 2003, albalagh.net).
So, why can’t we learn from our right-thinking (not necessarily rights-thinking) neighbor
Endnote: If I remember right, I heard Dean Ricardo Pascual say at the Soils Building of the UP College of Agriculture in the latter part of the 1960s: ‘Freedom is like this: You are free to swing your arm short of my nose!’