Phl huge population: Boon or bane?

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Philippine Star

So the population of the Philippines is expected to reach a hundred million this yea. So, is this good or bad for us? For old economists, who still believe in that age-old economic theory that the more people you have, the more people will be on the poverty level, this is a dire situation for the Philippines… and unless we do some drastic measures like controlling the population of the Philippines, this nation can never hope to progress and join the rest of our ASEAN neighbors as one of its tiger economies.

On the other hand, neo-economists believe in the new theory that the more people a nation has, the more progressive it becomes because of the opportunities it presents. Then this is good news for us! China is our best example. During the years under the presidency of US President Bill Clinton, he gave China a “Most Favored Nation” (MFN) status, telling the Chinese that their population is an economic dynamo that is China’s biggest economic advantage. After a decade, look at China today.

But for the Philippine government under President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III, our huge population is our economic millstone, which is why he succumbed to the pressure of the Obama Administration, notably under then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (I find it quite odd that Hillary’s husband helped trigger the Chinese economic boom because of its huge population) who introduced a Philippine version of Obamacare, which for most Filipinos is nothing but a foreign-based law, called the Reproductive Health (RH) law that brought forth a contraceptive mentality to poor Filipinos in the hope that our population growth gets stopped on its tracks.

This law is now in the hands of an Aquino laden Supreme Court (SC), which P-Noy hopes (SC) would “toe the line” and rule that the RH Law is within the bounds of the Philippine Constitution. But if you didn’t know, jurisprudence in the Philippines uses a lot of US legal doctrines and as we wrote last Saturday, the lower Courts in the United States have already given great importance to religious beliefs by invoking the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998, thus pushing Obamacare against the wall and giving the Christians churches a stunning victory in this fight of good vs. evil.

So is our having a hundred million population boon or bane to the Filipino nation? The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no. But the bottom line in this country is this centralized system of governance is ruled by the political elite that took over the EDSA Revolt of 1986 in the name of the Filipino people who unknowingly were taken for a 27-year ride to poverty.

Politics is without a single doubt the principal reason why politicians want more people to be poor, so they could easily “buy” their votes during election season. Of course these politicos do not do this openly. It is a hidden agenda that the poor are totally unaware of. So the poorer the electorate is out there, the more that these politicos can get themselves elected through vote buying. This was a reality from the days of the Marcos Dictatorship up to the 2013 elections, where there was massive electronic cheating via Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines on top of the actual vote buying.

Look at the Philippines today, a great majority of our people are seeking jobs in foreign countries because our government’s bureaucratic systems discourage direct foreign investments (FDI), so there are a few jobs to be had here at home. Just take a long hard look at our local furniture industry… and you will see that it is a shadow of its old self.

Since the late Sir Max Soliven turned me into a journalist, I have always maintained that the Filipino dream is to get a piece of the American people’s dream by getting that elusive Green Card. Pass by the US Embassy in Roxas Blvd and you will see that there are still long lines of Filipinos trying to get a US visa. This was true way back in 1986, and it is still true today. That is one Filipino dream that has never changed because our system of governance has not changed for the better.

What we have is a mismanaged government bureaucracy that has unknowingly abandoned the poor and the helpless. Sure, the DSWD may be giving away its Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program purportedly to address the needs of our poor. But our government policy should not be based on how much freebies they give to the poor, but rather how much do they care for our poor people. It is time to show them that we really care! 

If at all, the only bright side in the Philippine economy comes from the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry, which takes advantage of the Filipino’s ability to communicate in the English language. Yet the policy of the Aquino presidency (from Tita Cory to P-Noy) is to promote Tagalog nationalism. But truth to tell, learning the Tagalog language has no clear advantage for the Filipino when he is looking for a job here or abroad.

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