Poverty and the RH Bill
Amidst the welter of arguments raised against the Reproductive Health bill filed by Cong. Edcel Lagman, the issue of poverty had surprisingly taken a central position. Cong. Manny Pacquiao declared, ““Ang solusyon sa kahirapan, yung korupsyon, sugpuin. Kailangan siguro bago ‘yan matupad, magkaisa tayo para sugpuin ang korupsyon.” Cong. Milagros Magsaysay stated, “Kung kakaunti ang pondo ng gobyerno, syempre uunahin ko na po ang edukasyon at kalam ng sikmura ng constituents ko.”
On the surface, tackling the issue of poverty is always a good thing. However, none of those who raise the issue of poverty as a counter-argument against the RH bill are known serious advocates of economic development. Certainly, wearing yellow gloves in a boxing ring as a symbol of fighting poverty does bring cuteness into the issue.
The National Economic Protectionism Association (NEPA) holds that our large population is a positive economic advantage that needs to be harnessed through an industrial plan.
The most developed and richest economies today like theUS,China,Brazil,India,Japanare blessed a large population that is made productive by a well-developed industrial and manufacturing infrastructure.
Unfortunately, during the past decades the country’s leaders used the so-called “comparative advantage” of a large population not to develop our industrial base but as cheap labor for foreign companies in export processing zones and for cheap labor export. Hence, we have wasted our “comparative advantage” in favor of others.
Our country’s population will continue to grow and so will poverty unless we bring in all our political and economic strengths to address the issue of a comprehensive industrial development.
As to the RH Bill, NEPA believes that in so far as providing choice for women, expanding education to better the people’s understanding of reproductive issues, and making available contraceptive materials to those who need it, Cong. Lagman’s bill is spot on.