[October 16, 2008]

This is in response to Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty. This was written on the fly during my 15 minute break because of a heavy work load and it was only now that I was informed thru email that it’s Blog Action Day, so forgive any errors in grammar or so. Bloggers of world, UNITE!
 
Most of us would agree that poverty equates to population explosion and both factors each other. The solution is quite simple yet as simple as it is, still, it is very hard to implement. Control population growth then you can drastically reduce poverty. Take the case of the Philippines for example, though I haven’t really undertook a formal study on poverty, it really does not require a thesis to understand that the poor only becomes poorer every time they conceive.
 
“Ang kayamanan ko ay ang aking mga anak” (my treasure are my children) now how many times have I heard those lines, mostly from the D sector of society?  How many times have you too? Do not confuse me as from the upper classes of Philippine society, I am not. It’s just that I hear those famous lines from, well, the poorest of the poor. So what is wisdom behind those lines? The irresponsible parents think and hope that one in as many children they have will most probably lift or save them from the dump where they so lovingly dig themselves into deeper every time they conceive.
 
Again, let me reiterate that  also come from the ‘not so rich’ sector and I’m not undermining the poor, it’s just that their thinking that one of their children would, some day, in the future, will turn them to wealthy senorita’s and senorito’s would have to stop. There are cases when that line of thinking do eventually materialize but, let’s say, in a million cases, only one or two occurrences of that dream do transpire. So what are you left with? I’m not going to lecture on means and medians; I’ll save that for your probabilities and statistics.
 
It is the responsibility of the parents to secure the future of their offspring, NOT the other way around. If you’re a responsible mother, you will not parade your child in your arms, half-naked, under the sun or pouring rain just to beg and hope that someone will sympathize in your fate. That is not responsibility. That is madness and should be a criminal act. It’s the same as with peddling your children to politicians or foreigners and hope for a better future after, madness, complete madness.
 
I’ve been to the most poverty-stricken areas in the Philippines and what do I see? Kids, kids and more kids everywhere, and then you begin to ask yourself, why? You have to take into consideration the environment they evolve in. The shanties are extensions of other shanties and the walls that divide them are only inches apart. So what happens in that kind of environment where most parents have time to idle as long as they want? They manufacture children. Add that to that famous line I said a few paragraphs before and what do you get? Population explosion that equates to poverty that equates to higher crime rate that equates to chaos that equates to anarchy and so on and so forth.
 
So how do you reduce poverty? Many studies have been undertaken and most of those that they try to implement do fail. So the answer that population control IS the solution is really not that simple. I am a Catholic and my church is very clear on their stand on artificial birth control, though I’m somewhere in between when it comes to church and state, still, artificial birth control may be an answer, that is if it eventually becomes available for free. But then again, it’s like shifting to low tar cigarettes, you did not kick the habit, you just reduced it or so that is what they would like you to think.
 
Another solution is the legislation of a law that requires any couple to have something like a trust fund or proof that they can really support their offspring, but then again that has got to be one of the harshest solutions and I would only support that as a last resort when all else fails.
 
My choice as a weapon to control population to reduce poverty is education. Well, education from the government and responsibility on the people’s end. You see the poor having so many children, you see the rich having just one or two. The poor has no direct access to education. The rich can pay for it. It’s quite obvious that education equates to being responsible enough to know that you will not try to conceive a child you cannot support. Education is the key as it has always been the solution to almost everything. But in a country like the Philippines where the military gets the juiciest cut of the annual budget and the education sector is down the list, it might all be a dream. With that said, corruption will then also be a factor and this supposed to be quick and short post for blog action day 2008 which I’m writing on the fly will then evolve to be a case study.
 
But then again it might be the combination of all that I enumerated. Still, educate the people, educate them to be responsible and that will equate to a positive result. Because at the end of the day, regardless of how many legislation or solutions we offer it is still in the hands of parents the basic freedom to conceive or not to.