Overpopulation in the Philippines

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REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH IN THE PHILIPPINES

INTRODUCTION

It has been a politically perceived issue that there is over population in the Philippines. This issue has been constantly blamed for the aggravating poverty situation.

One side is claiming that unbridled population increase is putting so much strain on the financial and food resources of the country that more and more Filipinos are no longer eating three square meals a day. Economic rating system is also stating a poor Filipino family is earning just below $1 per day. This certainly can hardly feed a family of 4 or more.

On the other side, it is claimed that the cause of poverty is government corruption. They rightfully claim that while it’s true that the poor are constantly increasing, and that the income gap between them and the next economic level is likewise widening, financial resources that are intended to support the poor are being pocketed by corrupt government officials. Population is not the cause of poverty, corruption is, the Catholic Church claims.

The government is keen on crafting remedies to curb population. Several laws have been passed to curb corruption. But since they lack heavy punitive measures, they became hardly effective. Corruption has already downgraded the country’s economic standing that adversely affected our capability to borrow money from credit or financial institutions, particularly the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

So the government resorted to drafting a bill that drew the ire of the conservative and the Catholic Church. Foremost is the reproductive health bill, which was authored by Senator Pia Cayetano and Congressman Edcel Lagman. The bill underwent rough sailing on the legislative seas.

The President is set to sign the bill into law before 2012 ends.

DISCUSSION OF THE ISSUE

Reproductive health, or sexual health/hygiene, addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life. Reproductive health, therefore, implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safer sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. One interpretation of this implies that men and women ought to be informed of and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of birth control; also access to appropriate health care services of sexual, reproductive medicine and implementation of health education programs to stress the importance of women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth could provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant. On the other hand individuals do face inequalities in reproductive health services. Inequalities vary based on socioeconomic status, education level, age, ethnicity, religion, and resources available in their environment. It is possible for example, that low income individuals lack the resources for appropriate health services and the knowledge to know what is appropriate for maintaining reproductive health.

As a personal opinion, reproductive health is also the ability of a couple - a man and a woman - to reproduce and raise children. It is a genetic process of increasing the number of the earth’s inhabitants which continuously work for their own sustenance or provide for their basic needs to survive – food, shelter, etc.

But the disproportionate increase of population vis-à-vis resources, the consequentially widening disparity between these two elements is putting strains on both the natural and financial resources. Science has undertaken remedies to increase food production and sustain natural resources. Sustainable development is employed.

There are successes in several countries, especially in rich countries. But other countries, particularly the third world, where governments are beleaguered by ineptitude and corruption have hardly taken off. The Philippines, for...
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