“Isn’t it that we should be dehumanizing those who couldn’t take responsibility from unwanted pregnancy when they themselves couldn’t afford to tend to the child’s basic needs?”
It was April 2019 when Philippine Daily Inquirer published an article that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), reporting Philippines’ annual population growth rate being one of the highest in the Southeast Asian Region.
With the growth rate at 1.6 percent annually, we have exceeded the US, India and China in how fast population rises. The reported current population of our country is at 108.1 Million. 31% have an age range of 0-14 years old while 64 percent have an age range of 15-64%. Having said this, it is safe to say that approximately 35 – 40 percent of the Filipinos are still in their youth and are very much capable of producing tiny Filipinos for the next 20 years.
Overpopulation is one, if not the most difficult problem our country is facing right now. It is considered a precursor to poverty and let’s face it – overpopulation is one of the major reasons why many problems arise such as drug trade and abuse, illiteracy due to the inability to attend school, poor quality of living and unemployment.
The government recognizes this problem and has been doing efforts to address the issue and mitigate its effects thus, implementing Republic Act No. 10354, otherwise known as the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.
With the implemented law, the government can now provide access to contraceptives such as IUDs, condoms, birth control pills and other family planning devices to every Filipino. The government could also provide education and counselling regarding sexuality and reproductive health.
Despite the statistics screaming like a hound and the government heeding to its cries, Filipinos still continue to look at the topic of sex and contraception as a taboo. As a matter of fact, the issue on providing sex education in schools is still very much frowned upon.
It doesn’t help that the Catholic Church amplifies this way of thinking. At a very young age, I was made to believe that having and that mentioning sex is wrong and unacceptable. I am not the only Filipino youth who grew up this way. Many of us, especially those who spent their puberty years fostered in Catholic institutions were made to believe that anything regarding sex should not be mentioned and not to be discussed unless you’ll be married.
The Catholic Church dehumanizing sex has done more harm than good in our society. They have devoid from the original peaceful message that sex should be practiced by married couples since this act requires trust and patience because of the vulnerability involved in it. As an effect, they have policed society and created a notion that sex is sinful. This fostered an environment of ignorance within communities which lead the youth to explore their sexuality in hiding without correct information about the practice of safe sex.
Don’t get me wrong! I am not promoting premarital sex. I am, however, promoting the practice of safe and consensual sex whether married or not. The decision should be a right provided to everyone and should not be tainted by irrational opinions that people who crave and have sex for purposes other than creating another human being should be burned in hell.
Isn’t it that we should be dehumanizing those who couldn’t take responsibility from unwanted pregnancy when they themselves couldn’t afford to tend to the child’s basic needs? Isn’t it more cruel to bring another life into this world yet not providing the basic necessities he/she is required to live a good life?
Figures show our country is densely populated, ranking 24th in the world. The worst part about this problem is that majority of the Filipinos still live very difficult lives.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, a family of 5 would only need at least Php 10,481 to meet food and non-food items to be not considered poor. In an article by Philippine Star (PhilStar), Deputy National Statistician Josie Perez said that there are 23.1 Million Filipinos who do not have incomes meeting the poverty threshold. All the numbers point to the fact that in terms of human resources, we have quantity but not quality.
Despite the government’s efforts to provide universal access to free education, a lot of Filipinos are still deprived on that matter with unemployment and poverty being the major factors. This only shows that many Filipinos are living hungry and suffering.
Yet do we find the Catholic Church providing programs that would pull people out from this depressed state? Unfortunately, faith and prayers alone cannot feed a nation. We should start opening our minds to the topic of sex education.
We need to stop stigmatizing sex and treat it as human nature rather than an animalistic part of us that we need to suppress. It is instinctive to us humans the topic of reproduction no matter how much we label it – sinful or sacred.
What is important is that we practice it responsibly. I believe that knowledge about our bodies and a positive outlook on contraception and family planning can be one of our contributions to the practical development and sustainability of our nation.