by Ralph Jorge B. Pangilinan
There have been thousands of claims with reference to overpopulation that have been conveyed already in the past four decades. The entire globe has always been a confused audience of some people voicing their dramatic declarations while others unswervingly verify their opposing assertions concerning this matter. These goes to show that overpopulation is subjective in nature. No particular definition of overpopulation has been agreed upon by international communities as of present.
Relative to the Philippines, a condition where it is unachievable for the majority to have life at substantial level should be referred to as overpopulation. Consistent with the recent studies made by the Population Reference Bureau, the 2005 expected Philippine population stands at 84.8 million people growing 2.3% annually. With poverty occurrence, the numbers are indicatory that the Philippines is actually overpopulated. A speedy increasing population adjoined by unsound local economy and questionable government integrity has only caused exacerbation to the republic’s long-term setback.
Whereas some once-overpopulated countries have worked their way to resolve the worldwide crisis, Philippines has not been successful in implementing proposed formula of controlling population growth from the practical to the totally difficult. Amidst calls for robust family planning campaigns, more aggressive educational drives for women in rural areas, promotion of vasectomy among men, increased job demands, the salary hikes, the local industry development, the government transparency and intriguing endorsement of contraception by the conservative Catholic church, none of these proposals have been sufficient enough to control the population problem. No bacon was brought home amidst the Philippine adoptions of the established population controlling methods as the implementation was unity deficient. A crucial issue that overpopulation is, it is necessary to have oneness in actions to create an effective antidote to the deeply wounded society. Will the church approve of contraception? Will the government work hand-in-hand with various institutions? What shall we do? Time is not within our realm. We cannot afford to duplicate mistakes for more than half of the population already live below the acceptable standard of life. With Filipino children laboring hard in the urban streets of Manila to help their parents buy a decent meal instead of enjoying schools’ fundamental lessons, with lower fishermen income because of diminishing seafood supplies caused primarily by degrading water pollution and with developing diseases killing humans and animals alike brought by mismanaged technologies, what shall remain for the succeeding generations must this population problem aggravate is downright insensible.
At the end of the day, what is most important is overpopulation’s deteriorating and unconstructive effects on the quality of Filipino lives must notably be stopped. There must be some way. Honorable members or the congress and duly respected bishops, Filipinos do not deserve a life like this. We do not want to take the basic rights of each Filipino. I remember in my social studies class that once they said that the government is a separate entity from a church and no intervention between them must be made, that is true only if it matters one entity and not the other. Along with other institutions, you both have the power to reinvent the image of overpopulation and its effects. It would never be so easy but we would never move on without unity. It is like running a car without one tire busted; yes it may still run, but in time the ‘mags’ would breakdown and incessantly we could never reach our desired destination. As a studying teenager, I pin all my hope on unity. Unity among all of us in working our way to population control through the helpful use of the proposed methods shall be of great help to our country in overcoming this phenomenon. Albeit the stronghold of overpopulation and its ugly effects alike, the unity of the people’s will shall be a converging power to break its long-lived reign, which will give the future Philippine generations sunnier days.