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Rice importation and population growth January 22, 2011

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, RH/Abortion Bills.
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Last January 11, the Philippine Daily Inquirer carried the story, “PH to sharply cut 2011 rice imports.” It said (emphasis mine):

MANILA – The Philippines, the world’s biggest rice importer last year, plans to sharply cut its imports of the grain this year, the head of the state grains agency said Tuesday.

National Food Authority administrator Angelito Banayo, asked about rice import plans for the year, told reporters: “Much much lower, probably not even half — probably one third.” He would not give specific figures.

. . .

Banayo said the government planned to cut imports because it already had a lot of rice stored from previous years.

Very interesting indeed. The population of the Philippines is not shrinking, but our rice imports will be drastically reduced. What does that mean?

This development indicates that past rice shortages (and the need to import) were not necessarily caused by “runaway population growth” as some have hysterically claimed. Rather, it seems that any shortages were more likely caused by other factors (such as corruption, hoarding, and inefficiency). After all, PNOY, in his State of the Nation Address, stated that some P160 billion worth of rice were wasting away on the shelves.

Way too often, doomsayers have been blaming rice shortages — and a host of other ills practically including the kitchen sink — on alleged “runaway population growth” or “overpopulation.” They seem to forget that both our nation’s Total Fertility rate (TFR) has been dropping like a rock, along with our population growth rate (see my blog post on that here).

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Philippine Fertility Dropping Like A Rock September 15, 2010

Posted by Maddog in Prolife Issues.
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Contrary to the hysterical fears of population doomsayers, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of the Philippines (or the average number of children per woman) has been DROPPING LIKE A ROCK for decades and will continue to do so.

Let us not mistake an occasional rise here and there for a trend. When statistics are compiled on an annual basis, a change within a single year alone does not necessarily signify any kind of trend. Such small fluctuations are common since reality does not change to fit annual measurements. The genius of statistics, however, is that it allows us to see trends over significant periods. In the case of annual statistics, we can only see trends when we examine data over longer periods, such as every five years or every ten years.

With that in mind, I invite all to look at the actual numbers with regard to the Total Fertility Rate in the Philippines.

These numbers are from the UN Populatrion Division (http://esa.un.org/unpp/p2k0data.asp) and represent several types of projections (low-, high-, and mid-variant projections, and a constant fertility model).

Please note, however, that the numbers until 2005-2010 are all IDENTICAL. That is because this is HISTORICAL data, not projections. Of course 2010 is not yet over, but these numbers are actually only until July 1, 2010 (as judged form the most recent data avaiulable). I have highlighted the periods of 1955-1960 and 2005-2010 to assist people who want to make a comparison from the last fifty years.

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Obsolete Thinking — Again! July 15, 2010

Posted by Maddog in Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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5 comments

In a recent editorial entitled, “Two-pronged war against poverty,” Sun Star Cebu, a daily newspaper, claimed that the Philippines’ rising population is “one of the basic causes of pervasive poverty and which has become central to the reproductive health controversy.”

This is false and obsolete thinking.

Numerous economic studies have shown that there is no causal link or correlation between poverty and population growth. In the paper “A Primer on the proposed Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood, and Population Development Consolidated Bill,” Dr. Roberto de Vera cites Nobel Prize winner Simon Kuznets’ 1966 book, Modern Economic Growth: Rate, Structure and Spread, which concluded: “no clear association appears to exist in the present sample of countries, or is likely to exist in other developed countries, between rates of growth of population and of product per capita.”

More recent studies have supported Kuznets’ original conclusion and applied it to all nations in general. De Vera cites five more:

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Bloggers Fight the RH Bill June 25, 2009

Posted by Maddog in Catholicism, HB 5043, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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Aside from this blog you’re reading right now, there are a number of other blogs set up by Filipinos that have been fighting against the so-called “Reproductive Health” bill (also known as HB 5043). I would like to feature a few of them today.

First off, we have a new blog devoted solely to fighting Lagman’s anti-life, RH bill. The blog is called The Catholic Position on the RH Bill, and it aims to make available all the major position papers, open declarations and statements against HB 5043.In the post, “The Reason for this Blog“, the author states:

This blog is an attempt to put in one place all the position papers, statements and declarations that have been published by Catholics and other Christians (in the Philippines and across the world) to counter the proponents of this proposed bill. It is important that the supporters of “reproductive health” realize that the position of the Catholic Church against this bill is based neither upon “unreasoning dogmatism” or on “fear of progress”, but upon a clear analysis of the real reasons for poverty and the social ills often wrongly attributed to alleged “overpopulation”, as well as upon a lucid understanding both of transcendent moral principles and of health facts that are often suppressed in favor of propaganda for contraception.

Random Thoughts and Musings, by WillyJ, is a personal blog. Although it isn’t only about the RH bill, Willy has spoken out against HB 5043 and in defense of life quite a number of times. His insights and sharp wit are valuable. He updates his blog fairly often so check it out regularly.

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A Position Paper Against HB 5043 December 6, 2008

Posted by Maddog in Catholicism, Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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Position Paper: Catholic Alumni United for Life

http://www.phnix.net/Position_Paper_Against_HB_5043.pdf

We, concerned alumni of Catholic Universities, have united to express our stand against the anti-life, abortion-promoting Reproductive Health Bill authored by Edcel Lagman et al, now also known as HB (House Bill) 5043.

As graduates of Catholic universities well-known for their spiritual and moral values and academic excellence, we are also deeply dismayed that certain faculty members in some of our own respective alma maters have aired support for the said Bill despite the clear guidelines of our Catholic Faith.

We have therefore chosen to release this position paper in response to the confusion and scandal caused by the actions of those who have made the false claim that one can support HB 5043 and still be consistent with the teachings of our Faith.

HB 5043 uses wrong means to achieve questionable ends

Not all means to an end are justified. HB 5043’s supporters may think it has admirable, good ends, such as lowering the incidence of “unwanted” pregnancies, abortion, maternal death, and poverty, but they are mistaken. HB 5043 will not achieve these; and even if it could, there are more acceptable — and more effective — means of achieving these ends.

HB 5043 has provisions that will have morally questionable consequences. Some of these are as follows.

HB 5043 promotes abortion through abortifacients

The proponents of HB 5043 have ignored the fact that it promotes abortifacient contraceptives. The Position Paper of the 14 Ateneo faculty members, for example, dismisses this possibility, assuming that health authorities have declared modern contraceptives as non-abortifacient. Yet many studies show that such a dismissal is unjustified, and that these contraceptives can prevent the implantation of a newly- conceived human being.[1]

We also note that other contraceptives, like the IUD, are even more abortifacient than oral contraceptives, especially when used as “emergency” contraceptives. Their abortifacient mechanism of action is well-known and documented.[2]

Any contraceptive that prevents the fertilized egg from implanting, or otherwise causing it to be eventually destroyed, is an abortifacient. HB 5043, however, explicitly promotes and funds such abortifacients.[3]

It may be argued that the abortifacient mechanism of some oral contraceptives has not been conclusively proven to occur in human beings, or that if it does occur then this occurrence is very rare. To the first argument we would reply that even if there really were any doubt that a contraceptive is abortifacient, the grave stakes involved (the death of a human being) means that the burden of proof is on those who would deny that these are abortifacients. In other words, they must prove that these contraceptives are in fact non-abortifacient. Until such a conclusive determination is achieved we must err on the side of caution and not place the lives of the unborn at risk.

We also note that this imperative to avoid the questionable methods promoted by HB 5043 becomes especially more compelling since there is a safe, modern, and effective alternative: Natural Family Planning.

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Kill Bill 5043 October 11, 2008

Posted by Maddog in Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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4 comments

Congressman Lagman’s anti-life Bill pending in Congress is now known as consolidated House Bill 5043. Sadly, it contains the same abortion-promoting and coercive provisions as previous versions.

Couples for Christ has launched an online campaign against this monstrosity posing as a “health” Bill.

Kill Bill 5043
http://www.prolife.cfcinternationalmissions.com/

There’s another petition against HB 5043, this time created by an individual. Please sign this too!

No to Reproductive Health Bill (HB5043)
http://www.petitiononline.com/xxhb5043/petition.html

Be counted and kill this murderous Bill! We have to stand and protect the rights of unborn children and the right of each of person to follow his conscience, free of government coercion. Online petitions may not have the force of written petitions with real signatures, but they do have some moral force. If you wish to register your opposition to this Bill online, you may do so using those petitions.

If you have time, you may also wish to write a letter to your favorite newspaper, your local government officials, and to your Congressman and any Senator. Let them know you are against this coercive and dangerous Bill.

And in 2010, make sure you DON’T vote for Lagman and his accomplices in Congress.

Resources (update to this post)

Time for Integrity July 20, 2008

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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The newspapers, and especially their columnists, are having a field day writing about Ozamis Archbishop Jesus A. Dosado’s decision to deny Catholic politicians who are pro-abortion and pro-artificial contraception the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Some writers caution of a backlash, warning that decision appears too confrontational, and others seem sympathetic to the affected legislators, as if they were the underdogs. Some would even praise them for taking a principled stand.

But just how principled a stand is that of these politicians? And are the other considerations even relevant? Let’s examine the situation at hand.

Integrity

We are all sinners and are guilty of not living up to all our beliefs. It would seem, however, that these Catholic politicians have radically disconnected their faith from their actions. They claim membership in a Church that emphatically teaches one very fundamental tenet, and then openly announce their support for — and will work to bring about — the opposite. It’s one thing to be privately inconsistent with one’s beliefs, but to do so repeatedly, publicly, without remorse, and to claim that it is right, is another thing altogether. It’s a scandal.

What does that say about their integrity?

Here are the definitions of “integrity” from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

1: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values
2: an unimpaired condition
3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided

“Firm adherence” and “complete or undivided” all imply consistency in belief, word, and deed, don’t they? To have integrity means to behave in accordance with declared and freely held belief.

It’s obvious that these arrogant politicians want to have their cake and it it too. They want to advocate and pass coercive laws that promote and condone abortion and abortifacient contraceptives, while at the same time demand that they be considered Catholics in good standing!

What kind of chicanery is this? A Catholic “in good standing” is one who tries his best to follow the doctrines of the Catholic Church. What kind a Catholic is someone who refuses to believe in Catholic doctrine? Can such a person even be a Catholic except in name only? A How then, can one be in “good standing” with the Church when one promotes laws that are directly contrary to the Catholic doctrine?

Atty. Jose C. Sison, in his article “A bishop’s courageous stand” (July 18, Philippine Star) hit the nail on the head when he wrote:

So Catholic politicians in Congress or in city councils who sponsored and supported these pro abortion measures should not complain if they are denied the Sacraments; or try to sway public opinion against the Church for their predicament. They “should have the integrity to acknowledge” that their stand is contrary to their Faith, and voluntarily refrain from receiving the Sacraments “until they have a change of heart”, as Archbishop Dosado admonished.

Can we expect integrity from these politicians? If we cannot expect such, then why elect them? They will have their day of reckoning.

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Railroading a Deadly Agenda May 26, 2008

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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Imagine a doctor or health worker being sentenced to a prison term simply because he or she refused to prescribe — or refer someone who would prescribe — an abortifacient “contraceptive”. Imagine being fined and jailed for staying true to your pro-life convictions. Could that ever happen in the Philippines?

Well it just might if the latest “reproductive health” bill is passed in the Philippine Congress!

(Image on the right is by Matthew Bowden)

The bill, known as the “Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2007”, has a number of highly objectionable provisions. Here are just a few of them:

  • Section 9 (Hospital-Based Family Planning) (Note: this section of this post has been updated) specifically subsidizes the use of IUDs (insertion of the device is performed in a hospital). The IUD, however, is NOT just a contraceptive. It is also an ABORTIFACIENT. The IUD does not only prevent ovulation. Rather, it also works by affecting the uterine wall so that it prevents a fertilized ovum — which is already a human being — from implanting. The Philippine Constitution specifically protects human life from the moment of conception. The IUD clearly violates that principle.
  • Section 16 (Ideal Family Size) defines the “ideal family size” as having two children. This idea has no scientific basis whatsoever and further perpetuates the myth of “overpopulation”, which has been discredited around the world. Poverty in the Philippines is NOT caused by overpopulation, but by massive government corruption and economic mismanagement. This so-called “ideal” number of children is also below replacement level, which is 2.1. Should this be be widely practiced, the Philippines will soon be faced with the prospect of population stagnation and population ageing. There are no economic structures or even agreed-upon solutions to counteract the grave negative economic effects of such a situation in the Philippines.
  • Section 21 (Prohibited Acts), number 5 mandates that any health care provider who refuses to dispense certain services or information based on religious grounds (for example, a Catholic health worker who will not dispense IUDs or other abortifacients like the birth control pill), is still forced to recommend a “patient” to someone who will perform the objectionable deed! To make such a referral, however, still makes the conscientious objector an accomplice in the objectionable act. Those who refuse to make such a referral are threatened with 1-6 months imprisonment and a fine of P10,000-50,000. This provision is therefore highly coercive and tramples upon religious freedom.

Ramming Through Congress

The bill, with its deadly and coercive agenda, is currently being RAILROADED through the Philippine Congress in a highly irregular manner. This is detailed in a report (shown below this post) from the Bishops-Legislators Caucus on the status of this and other similar bills in the Philippine legislature. Take note that the consolidated reproductive health bill passed the Health Committee of the Lower House in just two minutes, without any debate or discussion! There was no technical working group formed to make the substitute bill, which is in violation of a Constitutional requirement. Something smells rotten in Congress!

This situation has all the elements of a deadly, tragic farce: a bill that is coercive, has no scientific basis, and violates the Constitution is being rammed down our throats without the people in general even knowing aboiut it. Talk about being shafted!

What are we going to do about it?

Link to text of Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2007
(http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dgdp8vjs_4t9kmvwgr)

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The ‘Overpopulation’ Scapegoat April 25, 2008

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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The latest “crisis” to hit the Philippines is the much talked-about rice “shortage”, and as expected, the advocates of the Culture of Death are once again blaming “overpopulation” as the culprit. Not only is this factually wrong, but it is also a despicable attempt to turn attention away from the real cause of the crisis: massive corruption and irresponsible, long-standing mismanagement of the economy.

Politics of Distraction

Research shows that the GMA administration is perceived to be one of the most corrupt in Philippine history. The Philippines scores way low, at 131 out of 180 nations, in Transparency International’s 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index. A recent national survey found many Filipinos think that Gloria Arroyo is the country’s most corrupt leader, more so than former President-dictator Ferdinand Marcos, as reported in the December 12, 2007, Sun Star story “Survey says Arroyo most corrupt president“:

The nationwide survey by independent pollster Pulse Asia found that 42 percent of Filipinos believed Arroyo is the country’s most corrupt leader, compared to 35 percent for Marcos.

Lest anyone miss the point, massive corruption has serious effects on the economy and the delivery of government services. Funds that should be going into education, salaries and housing for our soldiers and civil servants, infrastructure, health, agricultural support, and social services ends up in the pockets of those who don’t deserve it. Is it any wonder then that we lack classrooms and texbooks, have underpaid soldiers and policemen, inadequate primary health care, and poor, underproductive farmers?

Another problem — which, to be fair, was allowed by previous administrations — was the insistence on debt servicing, including even the repayment of questionable loans. This has effectively emaciated government’s ability to make critical capital investments in the nation’s industries and infrastructure.

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Betraying the Little Ones September 24, 2007

Posted by Maddog in Catholicism, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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More Catholics are parting ways with human rights group Amnesty International because of its new policy on abortion. Amnesty International abandoned its neutral stance, and is now committed to promoting access to abortion in some cases. In response, just last week, Catholic school groups in Scotland were thinking about withdrawing their support for Amnesty International, joining others who have done the same — many of whom have been loyal supporters for years.

This is not surprising. Amnesty International is supposed to defend human rights — everyone’s rights. Well, unborn children have rights too, and the most essential right is the right to life. Without it, other rights cannot be enjoyed. The fact that Amnesty International has betrayed its commitment to defending the rights of the most defenseless persons in the world (the unborn) should cause Catholics — indeed everyone — to pause and examine where our loyalties lie and to whom we give our support. We ought to examine those groups with which we are affiliated and make sure we are not unwittingly compromising our faith and principles.

Sadly, there are those who would pretend that unborn children are not human beings. To answer that notion quickly, let me quote Peter Kreeft, a philosopher who presents a convincing, purely logical argument for believing that the unborn are human beings. This is taken from the article, “The Apple Argument Against Abortion“:

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Does Population Growth Really Exacerbate Poverty? May 28, 2007

Posted by Maddog in Religion and Social Issues.
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It is often alleged that high population growth and high population density result in greater consumption of resource in a locale and as such are “contributing factors” to poverty. These factors — if we follow the population controllers’ reasoning — should be reduced as they “exacerbate” poverty.

That is a flawed argument. Let’s examine the logic.

We have to remember that ANY activity that consumes resources can be considered a “contributing factor” that “exacerbates” poverty including such activities as manufacturing, raising livestock, and planting. But should we now lessen such productive activity?

And if having more people “exacerbates” poverty, then aren’t such things as decreased infant mortality and longer life expectancy also “contributing factors” that “exacerbate” poverty? Should we now close hospitals so more of these “contributing factors” can die off?

What about art and culture? These use up resources too and don’t produce a whole lot of mass consumables. Should we minimize these beneficial “contributing factors” too?

Argumentum ad absurdum. The argument of the population controllers leads to absurd conclusions.

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