The Political Economy of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Applied to Philippine Overpopulation CHAPTER 1 (Introduction and its Background
The main focus of this paper is on the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s perspective in political economy as applied to Philippine problem on overpopulation and as well are the present mechanisms being used in addressing the said problem. To begin with, it is important to know the background of the Philippines. Philippines was colonized by the Spaniards, Japanese and Americans. It is not surprising why Filipinos today has a Western and Eastern way of perspectives. Philippine culture was indeed influenced and shaped by these abovementioned colonizers, although the Philippines has its own unique culture before the colonization happens. Religiously speaking, Philippines come into diverse type and some of which includes Judaism, Hinduism, Christianism, Muslim, Protestantism and many others. But it is very noticeable that Philippines is predominantly Christians specifically speaking the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, 80 percent of Filipinos are Roman Catholic Church. Culture and religion are perhaps some of the variables to be considered in analyzing the problem on overpopulation. However, both should not be blamed because they are part of the history. Today the social problem on overpopulation tends to be one of the greatest ill that plagues the Filipino nation. It’s a condition where peoples number exceed the carrying capacity of their habitat and so there is a great possibility that the government would not be able to give all the demands of the people because of its limited resources . Overpopulation although has its positive side still it seriously endangers the lives of the people. The government should take action in order to lessen if not to eliminate the problem. Overpopulation has an effect to the economic development of the Philippines. Therefore, it has to be addressed.
CHAPTER 2 (Presentation, Interpretation and Analysis of Data Gathered) A. Presentation of Data and Interpretation
According to the estimation of the National Statistics Office, Philippine population during the middle of 2009 is 92, 226, 600 (see Table 1). According to the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Philippine population is 1.36 percent of the world population. Philippine land area is 115,830 square miles or 300,000 square kilometers. The population growth rate of the Philippines is undeniable. One considerable question how does President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo see overpopulation? President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) in her 2004 Ten-Point Development Agenda which are: (1) the creation of six to ten million jobs, (2) education for all, (3) balance the national budget, (4) decentralization of progress and development across the country through the development of transportation networks like the roll-on, roll-off ferries and digital infrastructure, (5) provision of power and water supply to all barangays, (6) decongestion of Metro Manila, (7) development of Clark and Subic as the logistics center in Asia, (8) automation of the electoral process, (9) peace agreements with rebel groups and (10) closure of wounds caused by divisions due to EDSA 1, 2 and 3. Focusing in her first agenda which is the creation of million jobs includes the use of human resources meaning the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW”s) in order to address the problem on employment. In some instances over population could be viewed positively. Perhaps if PGMA cannot solve the problem on overpopulation, then use it in addressing the problem on unemployment. However, the use of human resources abroad is good for a short period of time because it creates employment but in the long run it’s not enough. Filipino nation needs a job within the Philippine territorial jurisdiction and so it will not be too much dependent to other nations.
PGMA's Speech during the 16th League of Municipalities General Assembly and the National Summit on Hunger and Population that was delivered on October 25, 2006 at the Fiesta Pavilion, Manila Hotel One Rizal Park, Manila, shows her objective in addressing overpopulation. She said that: Ayon sa batas ng pamahalaang lokal hindi lamang agrikultura ang devolved, maraming devolved -- social welfare ay devolved, health ay devolved kaya devolved sa lokal. Ang ibig sabihin noon ang pamahalaang lokal ang bahala sa kalusugan, at kasama sa health o kalusugan ay ang reproductive health, at sakop naman ng reproductive health ay yung mga programa ukol sa populasyon. And that is the reason why, because health including reproductive health and population services are devolved to the local governments, I have been advising our funding agencies -- and I advised our U.N. population program -- to deal directly with local governments as far as population assistance is concerned. Her statement manifests her determination in pursuing a policy in national population. She also mentioned the role of the local government units in pursuing the health as well as reproductive health and its proper implementation in their localities. However, supervision and strong teeth are still needed in its effective implementation. The Reproductive Health Bill or HB 5043 perhaps could be the glimpse of the governments’ attempt to pursue a strong policy on national population. The government is campaigning for an innovative in addressing the problem on overpopulation. However, the said bill is still pending. The bill will serve as the teeth to the implementation of reproductive health. The bill stipulates that the Commission on Population (POPC0NI) is going to be the main agency in its implementation. Here is an excerpt from the said bill: The POPCOM will serve as the central planning, coordinating, implementing and monitoring body for the comprehensive and integrated
policy on reproductive health and population development. In the implementation of this policy, POPCOM, which shall be an attached agency of the Department of Health (DOH) shall have the following functions: a. To create an enabling environment for women and couples to make an informed choice regarding the family planning method that is best suited to their needs and personal convictions; b. To integrate on a continuing basis the interrelated reproductive health and population development agenda into a national policy, taking into account regional and local concerns; c. To provide the mechanism to ensure active and full participation of the private sector and the citizenry through their organizations in the planning and implementation of reproductive health care and population development programs and projects; d. To ensure people’s access to medically safe, legal, quality and affordable reproductive health goods and services; e. To facilitate the involvement and participation of non-government organizations and the private sector in reproductive health care service delivery and in the production, distribution and delivery of quality reproductive: health and family planning supplies and commodities to make them accessible and affordable to ordinary citizens; f. To fully implement the Reproductive Health Care Program with the following components: (1) Reproductive health education including but not limited to counseling on the full range of legal and medically-safe family planning methods including surgical methods;
(2) Maternal, pen-natal and post-natal education, care and services; (3) Promotion of breastfeeding; (4) Promotion of male involvement, participation and responsibility in reproductive health as well as other reproductive health concerns of men; (5) Prevention of abortion and management of post-abortion complications; and (6) Provision of information and services addressing the reproductive health needs of the poor, senior citizens, women in prostitution, differentlyabled persons, and women and children in war AND crisis situations. g. To ensure that reproductive health services are delivered with a full range of supplies, facilities and equipment and that service providers are adequately trained for reproductive health care; h. To endeavor to furnish local Family Planning Offices with appropriate information and resources to keep the latter updated on current studies and research relating to family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition; i. To direct all public hospitals to make available to indigent mothers who deliver their children in these government hospitals, upon the mothers request, the procedure of ligation without cost to her; j. To recommend the enactment of legislation and adoption of executive measures that will strengthen and enhance the national policy on reproductive health and population development; k. To ensure a massive and sustained information drive on responsible parenthood and on all methods and techniques to prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies, it shall release information bulletins
on the same for nationwide circulation to all government departments, agencies and instrumentalities, non-government organizations and the private sector, schools, public and private libraries, tri-media outlets, workplaces, hospitals and concerned health institutions; l. To strengthen the capacities of health regulatory agencies to ensure safe, high-quality, accessible, and affordable reproductive health services and commodities with the concurrent strengthening and enforcement of regulatory mandates and mechanisms; m. To take active steps to expand the coverage of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), especially among poor and marginalized women, to include the full range of reproductive health services and supplies as health insurance benefits. The bill is good because it gives reproductive health especially to woman and it promotes responsible parenthood. However, the strong opposition of the Roman Catholic Church delays its passage. The Roman Catholic Church still has a big influence in the decision making of the legislators. Talking about PGMA, she seems to be silent in her position on the said bill since the Roman Catholic Church strongly opposed the said bill. The objection is raised by religious individuals through the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). They propose the preservation of teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It only shows how conservative and how firm the Roman Catholic Church is in its doctrines.
B. Analysis of Data The drastic increase in population is a visible manifestation that overpopulation really exists. Overpopulation is viewed by PGMA in both positive and negative one. In her 2004 SONA she mentioned that one of her administration’s visions is to create employment and that is through human resources. The government utilizes the human resources in increasing government’s income and so she strengthen Labor Laws and policies in order to protect and promote the OFW”s welfare. This is a positive point of view pertaining to overpopulation. However, PGMA cannot deniably say that over population is not a problem. PGMA is a practicing economist. She knows very well that overpopulation adversely affects the Philippine development specifically economic development. The extra population is bad for the economy since the government would be less efficient in giving its services to the people because of the limited resources. PGMA’s administration is attempting to address the problem on excessive population growth through the House Reproductive and Population Development Act of 2008 or the HB 5043. According to to Rene Cristobal of the Employers in a Confederation of the Philippines held in Quezon City said: Our worker-families must now be properly educated with programs designed to tackle problems on family right-sizing and how overpopulation directly relates to day-to-day problems like health, income, jobs and prices. It manifests that Filipinos should be responsive in family right-sizing. Families are the basic unit of the society in solving the problem. However, on the other side Philippine culture and religion can be considered as contingent variables in analyzing why did the bill is suspended. Religion specifically the Roman Catholic Church has a great influence to the Philippine lawmakers. The
transformation of the Church in its role in politics manifests that it has to be vigilant and stand firm on its doctrines and teachings.
CHAPTER 3 (Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation) A. Summary PGMA’s strengthening of laws in labor is an innovative way in utilizing human resources. It is a good source of income which will help increase the budget of the government in providing basic services to its people. PGMA’s is also an advocate in the adoption of policies pertaining to reproductive health and population development of the Philippines. B. Conclusion Underdevelopment cannot be blamed on overpopulation alone but it can be one of the several possible ways in attaining the goal and aspiration of the Filipino nation. The government should initiate an action in addressing the problem on overpopulation. Overpopulation is very much associated to other sub problems like malnutrition, lack of education, lack of employment and environmental degradation. Population control can be helpful in attaining the goal of the government which is to give a better quality of living for the Filipino. C. Recommendation House Bill 5043 needs to be passed in order to address the problem. Conservatism in this social problem on overpopulation does not at all promote change. When in reality what the people need is change. The people need a change in their condition. The people deserve to increase their quality of living. For the legislators, indeed, the Church plays a role in the society especially in the promotion of morality. However, legislators have to be open-
minded and realistic in making their decisions. They should assess what the people needs or just let the Filipino nation lead into chaos.
References: • • • • • • • • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpopulation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_Philippines http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population http://www.pia.gov.ph/? m=12&sec=reader&rp=1&fi=p050104.htm&no=5&date=01/04/2005 http://www.philippinedomain.com/philippine-facts.htm http://www.neda.gov.ph/references/PGMA_plans/PGMA10pointAgenda.htm http://www.op.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3004 http://jlp-law.com/blog/full-text-of-house-bill-no-5043-reproductive-health-andpopulation-development-act-of-2008/