Responsible Parenthood. Responsible President?

President Aquino has inadvertently put the HR Bill splat on the front page, the front burner, the front of every concerned Filipino’s mind.
His SONA was a fine speech, truly. He is confident, capable and rightfully proud of his administration’s achievements. The Philippines is on the rise . . .
Who knows what he really meant when he made the reference to “responsible parenthood” and brought in the biggest cheer of the night. Maybe he’ll explain in the next day or two. Maybe he’ll also get the idea, if he is true to his word that citizens are his boss, that aware, sensitive and responsible Filipinos favor the Reproductive Health Bill and are urging him to get off his derrière and act responsibly himself.
Responsible parenthood means so very, very much. It means teaching your kids to be kind, not rude and to have courageous and honorable principles, not cheat. It means providing the uplift to a kid’s ego that assures confidence and desire to excel. It means teaching THE KIDS responsibility. It means reading to them early and giving them books as they grow older. It means not exposing them to health risks. It means looking at them as cherished lives for nurturing, not cold labor; giving, not taking. It means being respectful of the community of Filipinos and not putting 10 kids on their backs, to support, like so many ravenous beasts eating up the Nation’s future.
I’d write more to this last line, but will do it with the thousand words that follow, courtesy of photographer Rick Loomis of the Los Angeles Times. The full article was depressing to me. Poverty is a bitch.
Be a responsible president, Mr. President.
32 Responses to “Responsible Parenthood. Responsible President?”
  1. Hey Joe, I just read Ben Kritz analysis – great writing!But both Ben and I are probably required to take remedial classes in math.

  2. Ha, thanks. But I doubt it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    From: Island Jim-e (aka: the cricket)!1. I can hardly wait to see the "rest of the story"! Page #2 of our PREZ admin time has just got to be a "knee-slapper" (I hope)!2. THE DARK KNIGHT….coming to a grave-yard near you soon! As regards the Denver theatre "shoot- um-up" and need for good "fostering", "parenting" "guiding" and "shooting" I think that every parent and country need to given attention to allowing the plague of "violence" to be endorsed and sponsored by the mis-parenting (child participaion in/at- bloody sports-bread and circus-activities), mis- education by formal church and educators, mis- government for not screening/moderating/inspections/ regulating the content of video games, television, stage and video-film industry (produced by the weathly vampires to fill their own pockets at the expense of/to civilization)-often with the endorsement of the military establishment as providing a door- way entry encouragement for "volunteer" recruitment!Observation: Good parenting signs and symbols:If parents just took time to teach theirchildren about "WHUP-PEE" (SEX)and then where to pee how to pee, when to pee, not to "pee into the wind" andto wash their hands before and after– then we allwould be much better off..than being "Peed-off" or "peed-on"! Question please: If the church refuses to be a goodsheep-herder/steward/instructor/and educator does thatmean we can take them to "childrens-court" (once theph-legal system is fixed) and get a "severance-package"? Please advise!chirp!

  4. Jim-e, the severance package is what some of the sex-crazed guys who are fathering children and abandoning them ought to receive.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Joe,I had the opportunity to meet with many middle age couples in a private school environment. If we limit the argument to a family with two or three children, I think that is a good and responsible parenthood. In contrast, there are plentiful of parents with more than six children who couldnt afford to raise and educate them properly. These family group including teens need that good parenting counseling. The President wish is surely good, but it is not good enough unless there is an agency to supervise a good parenting counseling clinic.Its Jack

  6. Somewhere between China's one-child policy (which results in the abortion of a lot of girl babies) to the Catholic 10 child policy (I'll call it that in the interest of simplicity), there is a proper place to be. IF you agree that 10 is irresponsible and unsustainable.I put the focus on the President. He is responsible for the social health of the Philippines and can get the legislature to pass essential laws. If he really wanted to reduce the level of birthing, he could do it through his health organization, with counseling, and no new law would be required. Or he could get someone skilled like Tourism Secretary Jimenez to run a publicity campaign to promote responsible parenting and small family size. Mr. Aquino feels no compelling need to do anything because the disaster will strike long after he is gone from office. So we can't let him off that hook. It is irresponsible.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Joe,Actually, 10 is overly irresponsible and unsustaineable. I think 3 is a better figure and doable. You are right, the most effective way to control overbirthing is to pass that essential law you cited, perhaps 2 or 3 kids per family, then we dont have to worry about it after Mr. Aquino leaves office.A government program is hard and difficult to implement. Did you know that Marcos tried it in early 70's and failed miserably when the total population was about 50 millions? Yeah, free condoms and counseling.Its Jack

  8. I didn't know about Marcos. Interesting, indeed. That means it is not the availability of the "tools" that matters, but the motivation to use them. I like a publicity program because it applies peer pressure to the thinking of those who would otherwise be undisciplined. What others think means a lot to Filipinos, I think. (Or anyone, I guess, Americans included.

  9. Joe;Yes, it is not about the availability of "tools". And you will be surprised, it has nothing to do with the Catholic Church either. A government who looks at its citizens as cheap sources of labor and foreign remittances is like a parent who produces children for child labor and potential source of income. When parents do not pay the price for producing a big family, when a nation does not pay for a growing population by simple neglect – one sees irresponsible parenthood, irresponsible governance.

  10. Fresh view, thanks. I do wonder which came first, lots of people or OFW's. Which is driving the other? I tend to think overpopulation is driving the OFW flood, and the government is happy to have it as a fiscal plank. Interestingly, if the Philippine economy grows, and grows wealthier, many of these people will be coming home. So if government WANTS OFW's, they better cut back on the infrastructure spending and all the other things they are trying to do to build a growing economy.The point that parents don't pay the price for having large children is eye-opening. That makes sense, and I've got to incorporate that in my "intellectual model".Thanks.

  11. A law that punishes parents for neglect of their children or forces parents to rear their children the proper way, not a law that limits the number of children, is more in line with responsible parenthood.Lots of OFW's simply replaced child labor in farms. IBON, by the way, has more reliable data to gauge properly the Philippine economy. And if you look closely, it is worse than the fairy tale in the US before 2008.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Jack is right, Marcos did promote family planning during his time. Cheap contraceptives and sterilization procedures first became available from Family Planning Clinics in the early 70s, I believe. There was a clearly articulated policy attached to the constitution that called on the state "to achieve and maintain population levels most conducive to national welfare".When Marcos was thrown out, the Catholic Church, particularly the then Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Sin, played a key role. I think Cory Aquino, P.Noy's mother who became president after Marcos felt beholden to the Cardinal and the Catholic Church in general and thus the latter were able to exert a stronger influence on key government decisions of the time. The Church's authority extended into the framing of the 1987 Constitution with a clearly pro-life stance.Case in point of Cardinal Sin's clout; a friend who used to work at the Australian Embassy in the mid-80s shared the story of how a whole shipment of condoms donated by the Australian government was turned back because the Cardinal found out and needless to say, was not quite happy about it. That's how powerful the Church became at the time. I'm not sure the current President Aquino is backing down on his earlier strong support for the RH Bill. There is something there that I couldn't quite yet put my finger on. Let's give it a few more days, even a week or two, maybe it will become more evident. If you put things together first, do share.Cha

  13. Anonymous says:

    Great pic from the LA Times. Reminds me of pictures of lung cancer victims they put on cigarettes as a deterrent for smoking. Maybe they should distributing posters to slums with a caption: "Having more than three babies is dangerous to your health" Sorry I couldn't come up with something more clever.-patrioticflip

  14. I don't advocate a law that limits the number of children. I advocate the RH Bill before congress that promotes education and makes family planning resources available. Or any kind of signal that people with large families this is unsustainable and begins to paint "inconsiderate to the Philippines" on large families. A publicity program would work for me. Laws just seem to the be the tippy toe way for people to work.Did you have the opportunity to read the LA Times article? If you did, what is your reaction. There is a link in my blog.

  15. Interesting background. I'm sure it is "awkward" for President Aquino to be aggressive on the matter due to the depth of his family's faith. I would imagine both his ears are burning, from the opposing views. While I am waiting, I will keep on haranguing, as I want my piece of his left eardrum.

  16. Ha. They should have put you in charge of Tourism. "Visit or die!"

  17. Angel, I downloaded the IBON piece on climate change. I think it is rather strident ideology seeking to define its own truths. The notion that developed nations are more punishing to the environment than under-developed nations is correct, but arguing that THEREFORE overpopulation is not an issue is the height of logical idiocy. The extension of the argument is to take us all back to the stone ages, give every uneducated cave man a vote, and we'd be fine. Birth away.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hey, hey, hey, have you read Boo Chanco's piece "P-Noy and Joe America"? Posted July 23.On philstar if you or your readers haven't yet. Stumbled into it myself just now.Congratulations, Joe! You may not be there at P-Noy's left eardrum just yet but I think you just got a big shove in that direction.So you go harangue and rant and rave and everything else you need to do to really get to there.Like my daughter likes to say these days, YOLO! (you only live once)Cha

  19. Anonymous says:

    Joe,Assuming that the RH Bill becomes a law, how do we know it is going to work? What are the key points to effect overbirthing?ThanksIts Jack

  20. Cha, yes. Several people mentioned it, and I also appreciate your letting me know. Readership has picked up the past few weeks, concurrent with my new-found "fame". I sent a note to Boo Chanco thanking him for the kind words and publicity. He responded, thanking me for making his column easy that day. He also noted that my views seem to fall into two categories, agreeable and disagreeable.

  21. Anonymous says:

    "Neither agreeable nor disagreeable. It just is." – Aldous HuxleyCha

  22. Here's a link to the Bill: is what it says about ideal family size:The State shall assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development and encourage them to have two children as the ideal family size. Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory. No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children.This is a profound statement that the Philippines is concerned about the rampant over-birthing. I have no idea how it will play out in terms of impact, or even if it will ever get passed. But it is a part of the awakening that MUST come if the Philippines is to grow prosperous.

  23. Joe;That is the trouble with facts. Can't change them. Per capita, developed countries have a much larger carbon footprint (One family here in the US beats an entire neighborhood in Manila). Of course, if Filipinos change their lifestyle and live like Americans, then we will have even a bleaker future for our planet….

  24. Well, to be truthful, I'm not sure what you are suggesting. That the Philippines would be better poor and "as is"? That we should seek no way to improve safety or health care or knowledge or wealth? Those things come with machines attached, computers and all the destructive things we find in America. Then we keep a low carbon footprint and can birth like mad, harvesting happily in our loincloths, a baby under each arm?I rather believe it is the technology that is coming from America that will provide many of the solutions to the environmental damages being caused by our huge consuming populations, both in America and elsewhere. And it is education and knowledge that will be the salvation of all of us. And Filipinos would be better with family planning knowledge, and awareness that high population growth on finite islands is unsustainable.

  25. I am not suggesting what should be done. Basic education is already very complicated for me. There is an interesting article coming out of Rolling Stone:Global Warming's Terrifying New MathFunny, this is not a science journal, but it may reach a bigger audience. What NASA scientists say do not reach the public, maybe Rolling Stone will.

  26. Let me give a somewhat elaborate comment, as I find a short one does not deal adequately with our subject here. U.S. over-consumption and Philippine over-birthing are two sides of the same coin, damage to our increasingly fragile and abused planet. The subject of my article was only one side of the coin, the Philippine one, and in other forums I have condemned U.S. intransigence in addressing global warming. That said, I think that the U.S. version of what is disparagingly labeled "monopoly capitalism" by IBON and others is simply the best socio/economic engine in the world for a world of unlimited resources. Think of the wealth that it has generated, and the better living by so many millions (by most standards). Well, the engine is bumping into walls now, and the institution is grating at the need to change. But it is changing. Going green is a whole new industry, becoming substantial. Enough? Too late? I have no idea. But any solution is likely to be found in the institution that brought on the damage: innovation, technology and problem-solving. It won't be found by poor families in the Philippines birthing 10 kids each.The Philippines is butting against walls, too, in slow motion, stuck in deep poverty, struggling to grow wealth and keep feeding (or providing electricity, water, health care, etc. to) its masses. I personally believe we should strive for solutions for problems that are intricate and not easily solved. Others prefer to strive for condemnation of what they see as "culprits". It does little good, if you ask me, slapping easy labels on things, or simplistic solutions. To say that over-birthing is not an environmental issue because the U.S. consumes too much of the world's resources is . . . well, to me, lunatic. It certainly is not a statement that reflects a march toward solution. It is a political statement, and solves nothing.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Patrioticflip,I have been a smoker since high school, but I have never seen or heard of a picture of lung cancer victims on cigarettes as a deterrent until now. Oh man, you could have think of something clever.How many babies do you have anyway? I shall recommend one of yours to be in that poster. That would be great eh?Its Jack

  28. The leap goes from responsibility at the individual level to that of society. This is where the question of what the government must do enters. Giving birth to children parents could not support is irresponsibility. Consuming more than the world could sustain is likewise irresponsible. The individual actions each one must take can be seen but what a government must do is less clear. Should the US government curb consumption? Should the Philippines control its population? It may be simplistic at the moment. But the "terrifying new math" shows the culprit. There are existent and latent culprits.

  29. Yes, I agree with that, other than I think there is more than one culprit, and solutions will have to be multi-dimensional. I enjoyed the exchange. On to new threads, eh?

  30. mami_noodles says:

    I think that President Aquino has pushed Congress to pass the RH Bill in his recently-concluded SONA, albeit not explicitly. It is up to Congress to get a clue.

  31. I hope they heard the loud applause. Filipinos want a responsible nation, is what I heard in that clapping from a lot of intelligent people.

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