Population explosion
AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2016 - 9:00am

What is the priority of our government? What is the priority of our Congress and the Senate? We have many problems and issues in this country but the most vital and pressing one has just been ignored – population.

The Department of Health (DOH) almost had the opportunity to start solving our population problem and other family health problems that abound our people. They were given P1 billion budget for family planning that was supposedly for the purchase of condoms, pills, intrauterine devices, and pills. But the budget was removed during the deliberation of the Bicameral Committee of the House of Representatives and Senate. Sanamagan!

The root of our problems in this country stems from overpopulation. Isn’t it logical for government to address it first before anything else? Our population is expected to increase to 104 million this year from 102.4 million in 2015.

In 1990, population density of the Philippines was 202 persons per square kilometer. In 2000 it rose to 255 per square kilometer and 308 per square kilometer in 2010. As of January 2016, population density has increased to 347.6 per square kilometer. We must understand that a rising population results in increasing congestion, pollution and environmental degradation.

Everyday we complain about traffic, crowded streets, malls, and markets, crowded airports, crowded hospitals, crowded classrooms, poverty, squatters in big cities, etc. What about the more pressing concerns directly affecting the people like food scarcity, energy crisis and water shortages?

The birth rates and death rates in this country are alarmingly high. Government really lacks proper public health care. Now that DOH Secretary Garin is trying to put things in place and starting with key programs such as family planning – our legislators have the boldness of removing the budget just like that. Susmariosep!

Don’t our public officials realize the urgency of a family planning program? And now they are expecting the DOH Secretary to look for other funding groups to address this concern like the United Nations Population Fund and United States Agency for International Development. I’m sure these groups will help but they will definitely want to see what our government is doing first. And in this case, they will be very disappointed.

Our Senators and Congressmen are supposed to look after the welfare of the people. I wonder what made Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance and Isidro Ungab, Davao City 3rd District Representative and chair of the House Committee on Appropriations decide to cut the budget and redirect it to the purchase of air assets for the military and to the increase of the budgets of state colleges and universities.

When the budget cut was presented to the Senate and Congress nobody even argued about the issue of depriving women the funding for education, counseling and the medical support. Why would these legislators ignore the basic needs of the people?

These politicians do not have an idea of what life is for the impoverished women. We have children as young as 12 years old selling themselves for money, adult men enticing young girls with gifts and money for sexual favors, women are used like dogs by men just getting them pregnant with no support and most of the time deserting them. You have 21-22 year old women deceived by men and having an average of four children at a very young age.

Start looking around and investigate the life of young women and what they have to endure in the poor areas. The working class (not to mention our call center agents) has increasing problems of HIV cases and unwanted childbirth. We also have issues of pedophilia with the parents’ consent.

There is no proper justice and I feel that it is wrong for government not to address these issues. An adult taking advantage of a child is an international crime of pedophilia regardless if they have parents’ consent or not. In the Philippines parents are so irresponsible when it comes to the proper care for their daughters. Monetary advantages always come first.

Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Pia Cayetano, authors of the Reproductive Health Bill described the huge cut in the 2016 General Appropriations Act, as “unacceptable.” It is irreconcilable that Congress, which enacted the RH Law after much hardship in 2012, would three years later render that same law inutile, Santiago said. She added that the P1-billion budget cut threatens to deprive some seven million women of reproductive health services. This abandonment is immoral in a country where some 200 out of 100,000 women die in childbirth, Santiago said.

And what did P-Noy do about all these? Nada.

* * *

Since the time P-Noy became president, the country has been operating on a very big budget. But it seems that the improper allocation and management of such budget has imperiled the alleviation of poverty and other social issues that the citizens continue to suffer from, in a day to day basis.

How scheming our politicians are in spending the taxpayers’ money! It is just appalling how they can create projects in order to appropriate our hard-earned money in the pretext of making our lives better. But look at where we are today. Most of our citizens continue to wallow in poverty. Indeed, politics has become one lucrative business, so difficult to give up and so easy to manipulate. How can the nation progress in such a sorry state?

Last week, P-Noy made the announcement that the beleaguered DOTC Secretary Abaya will keep his job until the day he steps down from office at the end of his six-year term despite the call for him to resign for his inability to deal with the troubled MRT. Indeed, this is a classic case of what friends are for. Through thick and thin, through high waters and rough roads, together we stand to the end of the course! I guess accountability does not matter anymore.

Election 2016 is coming soon. As voters we must learn to select our representative in Congress. Currently, all the Senators and Congressmen who are sitting members of Congress have truly nothing to show productively. Maybe the solution or the best bet would be to vote for new people. This will ensure that these useless politicians do not set foot in our Congress ever again. Enough is enough.

ACIRC AS OF JANUARY BICAMERAL COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATE BUDGET CONGRESS AND THE SENATE DAVAO CITY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE FINANCE AND ISIDRO UNGAB GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT P-NOY
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