Every birth is a gift from God; every new life, a blessing; every birth a cause for rejoicing and praising God who creates new life only out of love.
Our country’s positive birth rate and a population composed of mostly young people are the main players that fuel the economy. A fact that even the government itself acknowledges as it is determined to feed, educate and keep the young people healthy.
And rightly so, for even our Constitution acknowledges that human resource is a primary social and economic force.
Earlier this year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that the hard earned salaries of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that were sent to their families for the first 11 months last year amounted to $18.3 billion, which is a 7.3 percent increase in the same period in 2010.
Filipino men and women who endure the travails of working on foreign soil play a significant role in propping up our economy.
The country’s robust population is a big boost to our economy, according to former US President Bill Clinton, local and international financial institutions and the public sector.
It is therefore quite disturbing when the country is told that having too many school children is a burden to the national budget.
Can we have enough of schooled, skilled, diligent and highly driven young people who are a driving force of economic progress?
The draconian population control policy of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill would only curtail our economic growth. The problem of countries with former robust economies is the lack of young workers for their industries and inadequate support for their aging population.
The issue on maternal deaths is a serious concern. The solution does not lie in suppressing births as provided in the RH Bill.
Providing proper and adequate maternal care could be done without passing the RH bill, but by strengthening and improving access to existing medical services.
There is an ill portent for the nation when government does not look at its own population as a source of grace and blessing.
There is a grave reason to worry when government would rather suppress population through an RH bill instead of confronting the real causes of poverty.
+ JOSE S. PALMA, DD
Archbishop of Cebu
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
30 July 2012