Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Real Problem in Overpopulation

Overpopulation is defined as “the condition of having a population so dense as to cause environmental deterioration, an impaired quality of life, or a population crash” ( It is a state when the population of the same species in an environment is in excess of its carrying capacity. The effects may include depletion of resources, environmental deterioration and the prevalence of famine and disease. (

Is the Philippines overpopulated? According to the National Statistics Office (NSO) the estimated number of Filipinos this year (2010) is 94,013,200. There is a population growth rate of 1.95% since 2005. This means that there are at least three babies born every minute. Philippines ranks 14th most populated in the world and 3rd in Southeast Asia.

The 1.95% growth is already an improvement when compared to the growth in the year 2000 which is 2.36 percent. But still much needs to be done to lower the population growth so Filipinos can enjoy a better quality of life.

Why is overpopulation a serious problem for our country? Overpopulation in the Philippines is considered to be one of the primary reasons why our country is poor.
According to UNDP poverty and overpopulation go hand in hand. Overpopulation exacerbates the country’s two other social problems which is unemployment and food scarcity. To give a clear illustration let’s take for example a family with 2 children sharing 3 cups of rice for a meal. Supposing from 2005 to the present 2 more children is born into the family. Given the present economic situation where there is minimal or no wage increase and worse, unemployment, the family will have less income and more needs. They would still have to suffice with 3 cups of rice but this time with more members in the family sharing.

The population problem is evident when food supply is scarce and the production of rice is barely enough. When this happens, prices of food will also soar. This then leads to hunger because at least one third of the Philippine population is poor. According to a 2006 Reuters report “the number of poor is growing faster than the population.”

Health care assistance and benefits also become more limited. A big amount of the budget is already cut down because of corruption. With the budget left it can barely fund health care programs and benefits.

Aside from the economic problems brought about by overpopulation it also leads to environmental problems such as garbage disposal, air pollution and exhausted water systems. Another effect that is really felt in an average Filipino’s life is the shortage of fresh water for domestic and agricultural usage. If the population growth could not be kept at a minimum level, households waiting in long lines to fill their containers with water would happen more often to more households.

According to a 2003 Environment Monitor report only 36% of the country’s rivers are used as a source for water supply. 58% percent of groundwater sampled is contaminated with coliform and needs treatment. A big amount of the water pollution comes from domestic waste such as detergents, oils and solid waste. If left untreated, the water will cause diseases such as typhoid, cholera and dysentery.

Overpopulation also has a lot to do with the global problem of climate change. Global warming is a result of too much carbon footprints mankind makes on the planet. The more human beings on this earth, the more carbon footprint is made.

Lack of information about pregnancy, reproductive health, family planning and birth control is the primary reason for the uncontrollable increase in population in the country.
Suggestions and plans on implementing artificial birth control methods had been presented by various cause-oriented groups and even by some government officials. However, the Catholic church who has a strong influence on most Filipinos especially high-ranking officials in the country is steadfast in their voice against its implementation.

I believe that having many citizens is a treasure for a country. It can be a boon if a country’s resources are enough for every member’s needs. However the current situation in the Philippines could not support a rapid increase in population. Our resources are no longer sustainable.

I’ve cited some of the ill-effects of overpopulation. However the problem is not that Filipinos do not know this. Anyone who has presence of mind already knows that the country is overpopulated. The people also know the ill-effects of having too many people in an environment because they themselves experience the hazardous effects. The problem lies on knowing what to do about it and deliberating on one’s moral and religious conviction on how it should be done.

I believe that the Reproductive Health Bill should be implemented.(Provided that it does not legalize abortion) It will really help solve our problem with population growth. If this particular problem is solved, other national problems will also be solved. After all, the bill is not about curtailing the rights of the people. It is in fact giving them freedom- freedom to choose the kind of life they want to live. This bill gives them access to a better, more comfortable life. According to Suneeta Mukherjee, a UNFP representative “The issue of contraceptives is being debated in Congress, in the Church...[but] its not about sex or promiscuity, it’s about being able to control your life. . .it’s about human rights.”

Ideally the Natural Family Planning (NFP) method should first and foremost be considered. However, not all people have the self-control and discipline to strictly abide by it. Since plan A (NFP method) failed we should move on to plan B (artificial birth control methods).

Let the Filipino people choose. One’s personal convictions should not be imposed on another. Despite what the Catholic church says, I know for a fact that Philippines is an overpopulated place and overpopulation is a pressing problem that needs to be addressed soon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Corruption: The Philippines’ Unbeatable Foe

Why is the Philippines poor? This is a question I often find myself thinking about. Our country is endowed with more than 7,000 islands with rich natural resources. During the 1950’s – 1960’s the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was among the highest in South East Asia. It was even higher than that of China and Thailand. So logically it is hard to see why the Philippines had been left behind by its neighbors in terms of economic progress. A study conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2007, however states that in the last 50 years, the Philippines’ economic growth has slowed down compared to its neighbors.

According to “The 2009 Index of Economic Freedom” the Philippines ranks 104th freest among 170 countries. Our low ranking is perceived to be primarily a result of our long-standing problem of corruption. As of 2008 based on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) our country is placed 141st among 180 countries. In a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being “highly clean” and 0 as “highly corrupt”, the Philippines “Confidence Rating” score ranged from 2.1-2.5.

To fully comprehend the value and the implication of the figures above, it is imperative that we understand what corruption means and how it is relevant to every Filipino’s life. Corruption is detrimental to every citizen’s survival. However it is also Filipino culture that tolerates and permits corruption to prevail. It is important that the Filipino people will know the vitality of putting an end to the ‘cancer’ which is crippling the society and gnawing at the people’s basic needs for survival. This then will determine the course of action that needs to be taken towards alleviating the country’s economy and thus improve the people’s lives.

This paper identifies the major forms of corruption plaguing the Philippine society and its effect on the Filipinos’ life. This paper also attempts to understand why corruption seems to be incurable despite many internationally aided programs.

Political Corruption is commonly defined as “the abuse of public office for personal enrichment” (Nye, J. ). The most common forms of corruption that are prevalent in the Philippines are:

Lagay System --- “grease money” is given to the person in charge / official of a government office/agency for obtaining something they need/want expediently.

Extortion --- Almost everybody in government offices from government employees, to high-ranking government officials are reputed for collecting extra money just so they will process the documents the people need.

Collecting ‘tong’ --- ‘tong’ is the substantial amount of money given to the government particularly to the law enforcers so they will ‘look the other way’ from your illegal activities.

Rigged bidding --- ‘staged bidding’; a secret deal was made between the dealer and the Bids and Awards official prior to the bidding to ensure that the favored bidder gets the deal.

Ghost employees--- including names of bogus people in the roster of employees of a government office for the purpose of getting more wage budget for a particular office.

Overpricing --- The price for the transaction or procurement of an important document is charged more than its original value to include the ‘grease money’.

Nepotism, Favoritism, Cronyism ---- Government officials often hire their relatives or close friends as government employees regardless of their qualifications or know-how of the jobs they’re assigned to.

Corruption hampers the development of a country. It strips the people of basic commodities including health care, education and even safety. Corruption hinders the Philippines from having access to free medicines and supplies. According to a study by Transparency International, for every 10 percent increase in corruption, immunization rate drops to 20 percent. It deprives the children from having quality education that can give the country hope for a better future. An investigation conducted by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) in 2009 found that corruption in all levels in the educational system is widespread; starting from the central office of the Department of Education to the public schools in remote islands. It can also compromise the safety of the public. According to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) country director Renaud Meyer, corruption "is a primary obstacle in the effective delivery of public services and fulfillment of basic rights." European Union ambassador to the Philippines, Alistair MacDonald said “"Freedom from the disastrous effects of corruption is as much a human right as is the freedom from fear or the freedom from hunger…"

A study conducted by the Asian Institute of Management- Hills Governance Center (AIM-HGC) establishes the point that corruption is wrong and that it hinders the economic development of a country. According to the Social Weather Station “corruption hurts national development”. It discourages investments from coming in. The study also discusses the reasons why corruption continues to flourish in Philippine society. The Philippines lacks implementation of programs that promote transparency which could lessen the temptation for corruption of power and resources by high-ranking officials. It is hard to combat corruption if the society tolerates such wrongdoing and if officials who succumb to corruption are never held accountable. The study also notes that “countries that succeed in controlling corruption have higher level of human development”.

Another study which recognizes the vitality of combating corruption is a study conducted by Vinay Bhargava, country director of The World Bank in 1999 entitled Combating Corruption in the Philippines. This study was initiated by the Estrada administration in 1999. Like AIM-HGC’s study, it recognizes the fact that corruption hinders foreign and even local investments which quells any chance for economic growth. This study also ascertained that corruption is not limited to the public sector. Because of the participation of private sectors, they should just as likely be trained/educated for combating corruption.

This study proposes 9 strategies for fighting corruption. “The 9 Key Elements” are:
 reducing opportunities for corruption by policy reforms and deregulation
 reforming campaign finance
 increasing public oversight
 reforming budget processes
 improving meritocracy in the civil service
 targeting selected departments and agencies
 enhancing sanctions for corruption
 developing partnerships with the private sector
 supporting judicial reform

According to the study made by the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime (PCTC), about 30% of the national budget reportedly goes to graft and corruption. This study names the specific types of corruption prevalent in the Philippines. It also names the efforts that government took to control graft and corruption. It also gives a list of the factors which hinders the implementation of the anti-corruption measures. The Filipino culture is greatly to be blamed. Particularly the culture of gift-giving which is a form of bribery or ‘lagay.’ Having close family ties is also a culprit. Prioritizing family members despite qualifications leads to Nepotism. The ‘kumpadre system’ and paying ‘utang na loob’ encourages Cronyism. Another significant obstacle is the lack of funding from the government to implement the anti-corruption programs. Transparency in government transactions and consistent monitoring on projects are key factors in fighting corruption.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Typhoon Ella

After the devastation caused by bagyo Ondoy and Pepeng (typhoons Ketsana and Parma), the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) had suffered another storm-- typhoon Ella. This typhoon formed when Ella Rose delos Santos in her blog entitled "Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo (A special report from a volunteer)" accused DSWD of hoarding donations especially the imported goods such as imported canned goods and Coleman camp pads. This of course sparked fury especially from Filipinos who were affected by the typhoons and those who volunteered and had actually witnessed how the people suffered. This anger was even fueled with the pictures she posted on her blog. They showed that there were 4 warehouses full of donations with no one (other than the group of Ella who volunteered) packing/repacking the goods to be given out to victims.

I agree that our government is slow to react especially during the Ondoy onslaught and DSWD is perceived to be one of the most corrupt agencies in the country. However I believe this particular statement of Ella is uncalled for...

"In my opinion, these deaths could have been prevented if Secretary Cabral had tried a little harder to do her job".

By saying this, she is stirring up something that has the grave potential to be blown out of proportion. She is suggesting to put the blame of some deaths to Secretary Cabral. Right now after suffering 2 consecutive devastating typhoons and a threat of a possible volcanic eruption, the Filipino people are at the height of their emotions. And that statement calls for a 'sober mind' to be understood correctly.

In Ella's October 24th blog post she is consoling a man who was a typhoon victim and who I think even lost a family member. At the same time she is trying to tell the man "not to blame and hate Secretary Cabral" for what happened. But she was actually the one who encouraged such emotions when she said "In my opinion, these deaths could have been prevented if Secretary Cabral had tried a little harder to do her job". Statements like this calls for people to react irrationally (although that might not be her primary motive for her famous/infamous blog).

I believe there are many more who feel the same way. I hope Ella understands the power she has as a blogger with many readers/followers. Exposing the truth as what you've witnessed is commendable. But the consequences of your statements should also be in mind.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

There is Miracle in Ondoy

For the first time in 40 years, Manila has suffered the worst of floods. Metro Manila along with 25 provinces in Luzon had been declared in state of calamity. The devastation seemed insurmountable.

The tragedy of 'Bagyo Ondoy' however has also brought miracles. Our country, being an archipelago has divided us even since pre-colonial era. This is the reason why the Spaniards were able to conquer us easily and several attempts of revolution failed because Filipinos were not one. Sociologists say that our identity and loyalty lies on which region we belong to. But when Ondoy lashed his fury in Luzon, help from all over the country arrived. When typhoon Frank hit Iloilo worst, help from all over the Philippines came. And now that Luzon is the one in need, Ilonngos said "it's our turn to help". Regionalism was eradicated. Even Filipinos abroad rallied to gather help for their 'kababayans' in distress.

If the damage of Ondoy's aftermath is insurmountable, help, prayers and blessings are overwhelming. Aside from the various effort extended by our fellow Filipinos, donations from other countries also pour in. It is my prayer that ALL the help extended to the typhoon victims would really reach them. May God protect all the money from getting lost into fat wallets.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Kris's funeral?

Even in Cory's funeral, Kris steals the limelight. So should the people bury kris intead?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Comedy Behind the Hayden Cam Scandal

For the past 2 weeks we've had an overdose of the Hayden-Katrina sex video scandal. But we can't seem to get enough of it with all the twists and turns. But it's also noticeable that this "tragedy" has its own share of humor.

The first big, fat joke is Senator Bong Revilla when he condemned Hayden Jr. in his privilege speech on May 19 saying "Ang tinutukoy ko po ay si Dr. Hayden Kho who is a pervert of the highest kind, a predator who has no conscience nor respect for women". This could have been a powerful statement had it not come from a person also known as a womanizer. Isn't he showing "no conscience nor respect" for his wife too?

The next joke is on Hayden. when he said "Condemn the sin, not the sinner". So Hayden are trying to say, your sin should be the one held accountable? If that is your rationale then dapat walang mga tao sa mga kulungan. Ganon?

The third joke is Mrs. Irene Kho (Hayden's mom) when she accused Manay Lolit Solis, Senator Revilla Jr., Katrina Halili and even GABRIELA (a militant group helping abused women). It was like she's saying everybody is at fault except her son. She even paints a picture of her Hayden Jr. as “matino, mabait, and disente.” Naku naman Mrs. Kho ikaw yata ang lulong sa droga.

Another joke is Ruffa Mae Quinto who is obviously a participant in one of Hayden's 40 sex videos. Pero cge lang deny to the death pa rin albeit the fact that pictures or even videos of them are floating on the internet. Maybe she's still waiting for their "indie film" to be popularized. Todo na 'to!

And the final joke as of this afternoon was a nasty prank when Hayden Kho Jr. is attending the Senate Hearing and all of a sudden an ex cop identified as Abner Afuang splashed water all over him. He was arrested for this. Kho's lawyers then took this as a chance to reiterate their petition to make the hearing "closed-doors" arguing that their client is also a victim of public hatred and shock. But he should not be shielded from this. In fact, this is the least that he has to go through. This is also a result of his own doing. He may not be responsible for spreading the video but he shouldn't have taken it in the first place.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Aling Dionesia, the Pambansang Nanay

The Pambansang Nanay, Aling Dionesia is celebrating her 60th birthday today with a debut theme- complete with 18, wishes, 18 Roses, 18 candles, 18 wishes and a 4-tiered fondant cake.

With the Pambansang Kamao's recent astounding victory, his mom, Aling Dionesia dubbed as the Pambansang Nanay has been every bit a part of his fame and glory. And she seems to be the one who's enjoying it the most.

Is it just me or does she really seem to be bordering on her "nutsy" side lately? Maybe she also took a punch from Hatton straight in the head(LOL!) I mean I understand that she was deprived of life's luxuries earlier in her life- and in fact I'm happy with all that she's enjoying right now especially after all the hardship they went through. But she seems to be taking all the attention a little too seriously. Well maybe she really deserves the fame and glory. After all she said "kung walang Pambansang Nanay, walang Pambansang Kamao". Well, there you have it. Very well said from the new "Pambansang Madam".