Letter from 16-year old High School student, expressing her concern against the RH Bill.
February 14, 2011
Dear Sir or Madam,
The Reproductive Health Bill is a breach in collective national reason. It is common knowledge that this country has stumbled over many bad decisions over the span of its existence, but the Reproductive Health Bill is on a par all its own. While it is true that the Reproductive Health Bill does have some good points and intentions, my reason has led me to believe that the RH Bill will lead us nowhere but miserable failure. Unfortunately I am an underage student in high school with no political power whatsoever, and what I can do to influence the decisions made in this country is infinitely smaller compared to the power held by you. That is the reason why this letter is being written, because I know you yourself would encourage a young citizen like me to take action, although my opinion and yours seem to contradict each other. I do not see anyway around that problem so you might as well deal with it and read what I have prepared for you in this letter.
In the Reproductive Health Bill, with its paragraphs and statements and endless definitions, one simple goal is blatantly expressed: to curb national overpopulation. This dilemma of ours is supposedly an obstacle in the way of national progress, because apparently a country only needs a certain number of people to succeed. This country, so it is said, has too many mouths to feed, too little space to build houses on, and too little money to accommodate everybody. It is a very simple concept that seems true. We need a fewer amount of people so that we can make the most out of the money we have. We will not try to make more money. We will try to have fewer people.
Obviously there is a lot of fallacy in this. First of all, poverty is not caused by overpopulation. Poverty is caused first and foremost by inefficient leadership. If you take the root of it all you will see that the ruin of a society has never been caused by the people. It is atrocious how people, especially the poor ones, are seen as the stumbling block to this country’s progress. Is it the poor who steal billions of pesos of taxpayer’s money? Is it the poor who do not provide sufficient infrastructure? Is it the poor that continually makes one bad decision over another? Maybe instead of blaming the innocent, you should be pointing your finger in the other direction. It is so easy to manipulate words to justify one’s actions and incapability, and then put the blame on the victims, instead taking the responsibility for one’s own.
In fact, the single most important resource in a country is the human resource. It is the Filipino people who make up this country’s workforce. The bigger the population, the more people there will be to work. The more people there will be to consume. Correspondingly, if you have nobody to work, there will be less output. There will also be less people to consume products. Consumers are needed for this country to thrive. What will happen if there are not enough Filipinos?
Overpopulation is nothing but a myth used as a scapegoat by powerful people as a way to continue their inefficient agenda. The mentality of overpopulation will destroy the Philippines just as it is destroying the world as we speak. When perhaps we have a population that is suitable enough for you, you will realize that you actually need people to work and to produce in order to keep a country on its feet. Perhaps maybe then it would be too late, and the economy is struggling to keep alive because the small population of young workers is also trying to handle the burden of large aging population. Then you would have to switch things around and do what countries like Singapore are doing, and that is to actually pay a couple to have children. But does the Philippines have enough budget for that kind of plan?
I would also like to take this opportunity to inquire if the government is actually doing something to assess the high density of people in the urban centers. The reason that the cities are so cramped is because there no jobs to be found in the rural areas. Is the government looking for ways to make new jobs so that people would not go to the city? Perhaps the problem of overpopulation would not be so bad if the Filipinos could be more spread out. This is just a suggestion.
Second of all, I am against this bill because it states that I will go to jail if I say anything bad about it, supposing that it is passed. Never in my life have I encountered a bill with such insecurity. What is so wrong about speaking out against some law? If you have an answer, then please enlighten me. I do not understand. I thought that our Constitution defends my right to express my opinions. Apparently I can express my opinions about anything except this certain topic. I did not realize that such things are allowed. Of course I would not know about these very well, since I am only in high school. However, you are politicians and you should know a lot about laws and rights. Please reply back so that I can settle this in my mind and tell my friends about it.
Thirdly, the Reproductive Health Bill speaks a lot about defending women by giving them access to artificial birth control methods. I understand how having clinics is good for women, as it is mentioned in the RH Bill, but what are you defending them from when you give them birth control? From babies? Since when have babies become vicious pests that women need defense from? As a young woman myself, I personally find condom use degrading. Artificial birth control methods encourage men to see women not as persons but as objects to derive pleasure from. Widespread condom use will raise the number of prostitutes in this country. Now that young girls know how not to get pregnant, they can sell their bodies as much as they wish without the risk. How does this empower womanhood? That is one more thing I do not understand.
One’s stance on the Reproductive Health Bill is not an opinion. This Bill is not something that I can compare to a favorite color or a favorite pop tune. Your stance on the RH Bill is yes or no, wrong or right. Perhaps for simple folks like me, the say on the RH Bill has no consequence. But for you, it is a matter of progress or regress for this country. Important Political Person, I am pretty sure that you know more than I do, and you have very good tastes and opinions on a vast array of subjects. But on this issue I am afraid to say that you are wrong. You have been deceived by the popular opinions of the western world and you are leading everyone in a dangerous direction. When you are making your decision you are not siding with the church or state, the masses or the elite. You are making a decision as a service to your country, which is what your occupation demands you hold in utmost.
I have brought forth what my mental power can come up with, and hopefully it has caused you to think about the Reproductive Health Bill even just a little bit.
Maria Inez M. Barrameda
As defined by the World Health Organization, RH bill means "the state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes." This implies that people have the capability to safely reproduce, provided within the context of the law. In the Philippines, RH bill aims to promise complete access to modern methods and information which openly engage on birth control and maternal care.
II. COUNTER ARGUMENTS
1. Overpopulation in the Philippines intensified the country's poverty rate thus causing the government to have difficulties in dealing the concern.
2. Experimental studies showed that poverty incidence is top among huge families and smaller-sized household has a larger opportunity to invest on better education, health, nutrition and eventually reduce poverty and hunger within the family level.
3. World Health Organization listed the use of contraception as one of the essential medicines to lower abortion rate according to Guttmacher Institute.
4. A 2008 SWS survey resulted that 71% of the respondents are approving of the bill as it proposed to educate people to be more responsive in choosing a smaller-sized family giving them free will to select a line-up of family planning methods set forth by reasoned population policy.
1. The bill misleads people casing the point that there has no connection between population growth and poverty based on the study of Nobel-prize winner Simon Kuznets.
2. The use of contraceptives present serious health risk and is deemed an immoral practice to control life.
3. The bill eliminates limited government funds set forth various high priority medical and food needs rather shifted to fund devices considered harmful and deadly to human life.
4. Local 2009 survey showed that 92% cast