News - How They Stand on Population


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:51:00 03/06/2010

MANILA, Philippines—Talk of the Town is running the stand of presidential candidates on a number of issues, starting with the country’s fast-growing population, now estimated at more than 92 million.

We asked the candidates the following questions:

* Under your administration, what would be your population policy?

* Are you in favor of artificial family planning methods like pills, condoms and IUDs?

* Do you support proposals to teach sex education in all schools, public and private, starting Grade 5?

* Do you think the country’s population growth stunts socioeconomic development and aggravates poverty?

* What is your stand on the reproductive health bill? Has your position changed? Why? (House Bill No. 5043 calls for sex education in all schools starting Grade 5 and the promotion of contraceptives, among other things.)

Except for Benigno Aquino III and Manuel Villar, whose staff submitted their respective answers, the candidates were interviewed by Inquirer reporters covering the presidential campaign.

Benigno Aquino III
Liberal Party

My administration will fully support the crafting of a firm policy that will address the serious problem on population. It will be based on the idea of responsible parenthood: imposing on parents that they should play a key role in ensuring that each and every child they bring into this world has the opportunity to lead a good life, and educating them about the means with which to plan their families so they can create families based on their ability to sustain their needs.
In the process of providing a range of options and information to couples, both natural family planning and modern methods shall be presented.

Children’s access to media, especially the Internet, necessitates an earlier (sex) education for them to be able to act as responsible adults. The sex education curriculum should be morally sound, has to be derived from reliable sources and delivered by responsible educators.

If we intend to maximize our resources and ensure that the basic needs of every citizen are met, the population issue has to be addressed. For instance, even now, we sorely lack textbooks and classrooms to accommodate our current student population. While this is also a problem because of corruption, it will be more difficult to fix the situation if we have to keep up with a soaring population.

I believe the reproductive health bill must be examined. One of the points I wish to interpellate is the bill’s provision of a hospital budget for contraceptives. If government hospitals will have it, that means there’s a budget for it. There is a truism that if you have a budget and you don’t spend it you’ll lose it. This might lead to hospital staff pushing people into using contraceptives instead of presenting them as a choice. There has to be penalties against that. Submitted by Aquino’s staff

JC de los Reyes
Ang Kapatiran

Platform No. 8, under Moral Dimension, of Ang Kapatiran Party’s political platform states: “Actively promote responsible parenthood and natural family planning.” This is my population policy.

Our Declaration of a Consistent Ethic of Life reads: “Every human person is created in the image and likeness of God. We believe that every human life is sacred from conception to death; that people are more important than things; and that the measure of every institution is whether or not it enhances the life and dignity of the human person.

“Henceforth, our Declaration of a Consistent Ethic of Life. Ang Kapatiran Party upholds human life in all its forms and stages. All are important. One aspect of human life affects another.

“The precondition for sustaining a consistent ethic of life is a ‘respect-life’ attitude or atmosphere in society.

“A consistent ethic of life means being prolife across the board—opposing abortion, artificial contraception, the death penalty, euthanasia, sports whose main aim is to inflict physical violence or harm on the opponent, torture to extract confession from an accused or a suspect, hazing, maltreatment of prisoners, pornography, prostitution, fraternity violence, the culture of guns, death and violence, vendettas, the arms race, poverty, corruption and unsafe working conditions.”

The party and I are therefore firm on our stand to reject RH Bill 5043. Interview by Jerome Aning

Joseph Estrada
Pwersa ng Masa

One of our major problems is (a fast-growing) population. During my time as President, the population growth rate was more than two percent. That means more than a million children were born every year.

We built classrooms but we still lacked classrooms. Hundreds of thousands of children are undernourished. The problem is (lack of) family planning. I am against abortion. With the many problems that we have, I believe that women should be given the freedom to plan the family that they can afford.

Prevention (of pregnancy) is not a crime. Abortion is a crime. Perhaps we can use condoms or other forms of contraception. Do we want our children to become criminals? It would be much more of a burden. Do we want them to become prostitutes? We have to weigh these things.
Interview by Norman Bordadora

Richard Gordon
Bagumbayan

My population policy is simple: no abortion. I will not make the population as an excuse—95 million people are going to be there when I sit as President. I have been brought up believing that man, if he is properly educated, has a free choice.

Responsible parenthood should be inculcated in our people. But I will not force them. Neither will I spend government funds to curb population. I want a quality population.

A huge population under poor leadership will stunt our development. But good leadership will uplift the capability of our people and use the population as an edge later on.

You will not graduate under my administration in high school without learning a skill that you can work with. The size of our population right now is a disadvantage, but it can be an advantage under the right leader.

It is up to the people to use contraceptives. But I will say: “These are the healthy ones. These are the safe ones.” To me, health and education are No. 1. They go side by side. So I want to pay the teachers well. I want to pay the doctors in the countryside P50,000 each. If I can raise the money the way I want to, I can pay them P70,000 so they can stay in the country.

I am also in favor of sex education in schools, rather than have our children learn it on the street. Sex is a good thing. It should be taught properly. This is important because of the explosion of mass media and the Internet. I would rather have children learn it from their parents or from the school.

I don’t think the RH bill will be approved. I cannot say yes or no to the bill because it will still permutate when it is discussed in Congress. But I am for the responsible use of population and responsible parenthood. If push comes to shove, I would say “if you have more than two children, then you will pay” for the third child’s public education and health services. Interview by Edson Tandoc

Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal
Independent

Choices by spouses on family planning should be respected. The people should decide, not the government. However, abortion as a means of either population control or attempts at escaping poverty should be discredited and prevented.

I am for education or information dissemination on the advantages and disadvantages of birth control. Many of our people still don’t know about this issue. Many women know they become pregnant, but they don’t know their cycle—when they could get pregnant or not.

It is unfortunate that only the rich are given adequate information regarding family planning. The poor should also be given the same information.

I am against using government funds in buying condoms and other contraceptives because it will be another source of corruption. Interview by Jerry Esplanada

Nicanor Perlas
Independent

My position is between right to life and choice. I am fine with vasectomy and ligation. There should be free choice but it should not be coercive and result in abortion.

Pills, as long as they’re not abortifacient. Condoms are OK. IUDs, no, because they can damage the health of users.

Sex education must be done after puberty. But I would make it optional.

Population density is only one factor [that affects socioeconomic development]. The other is technology. Be concerned by population, but also be concerned about technology, whether it destroys or enhances the carrying capacity of the nation.

This (RH bill) requires a thorough and sensitive and respectful process with key stakeholders. There are really very few on the prochoice side who are supporting abortion. Interview by DJ Yap

Gilberto Teodoro Jr.
Lakas-Kampi-CMD

My population policy will [be based on] freedom of moral choice. The government should support a moral choice made by the people. We will encourage private sector participation, through NGOs, to inform the people.

I will respect the sanctity of a decision to plan the family based on a moral choice. But once a moral choice is made, the government must support that choice, except for abortion.

If a person makes that moral choice [on artificial family planning methods], based on his conscience, and ask the government for help, then the government must help him.

As a policy, it’s freedom of choice. And that choice should be secret and sacred. The privacy of that choice is important.

I think we were taught reproduction and other elements of sex education in Grade 7 in a Catholic school. So, I think it depends on the school. Let’s make it not a policy but dependent on the school.

It (the country’s population growth) does (stunt socioeconomic development and aggravate poverty) at this stage. We can only provide so much for how many people. But equally important to the economic impact of population is the fact that the Philippines has finite territory and the population is increasing. We have a limited number of resources and many areas are getting more vulnerable because of the effects of climate change.

I originally wanted to support it (RH bill). But I saw the acrimony over the bill and it was not getting anywhere. So, what does that do? Population is still growing. We might have to find another way. And that balance I see is to support a moral choice.

(My position changed) when the debate became heated . As a public figure, you get a sense of the balance and you have to make a judgment call. Is this policy workable or practicable? If it’s not you have to find a way to solve the problem.

When I was a congressman, I never supported any RH bill. Officially I did not support it. But personally, “baka puwede (it might be possible).” Only in this Congress has there been an almost serious attempt to do it, and it has created a lot of acrimony. Interview by TJ Burgonio

Eduardo Villanueva
Bangon Pilipinas

We are against all forms of abortion. However, we welcome some (methods of) family planning and responsible parenthood as long as moral values are not violated and the health of the mother and child is not compromised.

Once elected I’ll order a comprehensive review of the RH bill to take out the contentious issues without sacrificing the sound programs for responsible parenthood and family planning.

But it is more important to address poverty. Once we have addressed poverty there will be no more controversy.

Yes [I’m in favor of artificial family planning methods], as long as there is no violation of medical laws and of the health of the mother and child. And there is no violation of moral laws.

Grade 5 [for sex education] is too young. Congress should study carefully what’s the best age for young people to receive sex education.

In the short run, if the poverty problem is malignant because of misgovernance and shocking massive corruption, it’s common sense that population growth affects the economic condition of our country. Like when you’re just renting an apartment and you produce 12 children. However, if the shocking corruption could be averted, we have much money to stir an economic revolution in the country.

I agree with some provisions (of the RH bill). If elected President I’ll make a marching order for a comprehensive review of the bill. I’m consistent. I’m against abortion because that is murder. But it’s a wise decision to favor sound family planning and responsible parenthood. It must be in the hands of the couple. I’m against intrusion of interference in the basic democratic human rights of families. Interview by Dona Pazzibugan

Manuel Villar
Nacionalista Party

I am basically prolife. I think the teaching of proper values of how to nurture children and parents’ responsibilities to them should be hammered constantly.

Those (artificial family planning methods) are personal choices and should remain as such. I do respect the people’s independence, freedom of choice with regard to family matters.

It (sex education in all schools) might result in more serious problems if we expose children to the matter of sex at the Grade 5 level.

Our current population should be viewed as an asset and ways should be discovered on how economic growth can be helped by population size. India and China are growing fast and they are the most populated countries in the world.

I’m against it (the RH bill). We should let parents decide. The government should just guide them. Submitted by Villar’s staff

Online Link:

http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/talkofthetown/view/20100306-257053/How-they-stand-on-population

 

 

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