Letter read in open session to oppose the Reproductive Health Code of Olongapo City, August 1, 2007

I picked up this commendable speech from the PRO-LIFE website.  It is good to know that no matter how disappointing the current political situation and how bad the reputation of a “Filipino politician” is there really are a few who have the courage to be the light in the darkness of this world that we are now living in.  My congratulations to the people of Olongapo City for having him as their Councilor.  -Reynor  *Update* I just found another article written by our very own Manny about this good councilor.

 To the Hon. Presiding Officer And Members of the City Council

Gentlemen and Mesdames:

JC Delos ReyesI respectfully register my opposition to the proposed Reproductive Health Code for reasons I will thoroughly explain. The code per se is not generally harmful or wrong as it aggressively promotes the health and the well-being of our constituents. My apprehension is found in the proposition or policy statement on which this ordinance will find its mandate, Fourth Whereas clause (a)…”that there is a need to curb the population growth rate for better population management.”…(e) “Unmet family planning needs due to shortage of supplies may contribute to the looming surge in the City’s population in the near future.”

Although laudable is its aim to promote health, prevent abortion, STDs, eliminate violence against women, etc. the core of the draft and its aim is principally and ultimately to control population using means which might go against the advocacies it tries to pursue. This in my opinion is an initiative at the local level to set the stage in support of the passage of House Bills Number 1808 and 3422 (2004), and 261 and 3773 (2005), a proposed legislation euphemistically referred to as “Population Management.”

This draft ordinance is a follow up to the proposed Contraceptive Self Reliance Ordinance, a proposed law which I opposed and was shelved. It seeks to fund contraceptives using public money to defray the grants and assistance in the form of condoms and pills from the United States through the USAID. According to the Philippine Information Agency Press release 8/09/05, the USAID contributes 80% of the country’s total contraceptive requirements. (letter of Arch. T.K. Balde , City Planning and Development Coordinator and Chair PDS Task Force to Councilor JC de los Reyes dated July 18, 2006)

Population control is the wrong solution to the wrong problem. The root social problem of our nation is not over-population but massive, enslaving poverty. Philippine poverty cannot be the result of a growing population, but rather the outcome of corruption in both government and business sectors. Both government and business conspire to put half of the national wealth and income in the hands of less than 1% of the population. We are poor not because we are many, but because only a few wittingly or unwittingly deprive our kababayans of opportunities to prosper.

On the other hand, we are many precisely because we are poor, as both government and business failed over the past decades to honor our people’s hopes for decent, productive work. The vast majority or almost 80% of our people are deprived of their rights to health and nutrition, to education and employment, to livelihood and shelter. Their children became their treasure and hope.

Contrary to what many say, our country is not over-populated. Rather, the national problem has always been the concentration of wealth and opportunity in major urban centers, such as Manila, Baguio, Angeles, Davao, Cebu,… Olongapo? This condition gives rise to congestion, lack of resources and crime.

The nations of China, India and Japan have had much larger populations than our present 80 plus million, yet they seem to be successful in enabling their people to live at acceptable levels of welfare than we Filipinos enjoy. The population densities of Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong are exponentially higher than our own population density, yet their governments have managed to provide equitable and productive work for their labor forces which are the most important component in their economies. Singapore because of a disordered population policy over the past decade which resulted to zero growth now give incentives to their citizens to make babies and invite immigrants. Conclusively, government money to support population control policies is a big waste.

We should pursue programs on countryside development, social transmigration (such as in Indonesia and Thailand) and domestic resource development (such as in China and India), rather than impose population control, which contradicts the cultural and religious beliefs of Filipinos—both Christians and Muslims alike.

These proposed population control policies such as this ordinance are pushed by their proponents to comply with funding requirements imposed by International Funding Agencies such as the UNFPA. U.S. National Security Study Memorandum No. 200, written by Dr. Henry Kissinger in 1975 (and declassified in 1993), declared as state and military policy the engineering of aggressive population control in thirteen countries, including the Philippines, in order to control food and energy sources for the huge requirements of the United States of America.

This is why a Commission on Population was created under the Office of the President to organize an extensive network of Full-Time Outreach Workers and Barangay Service Officers, numbering over 60,000 throughout the Philippines. POPCOM’s mission was to promote and expand the acceptance of fertility reduction through aggressive and coercive marketing even of methods invented and produced by the United States and other Western Countries some of which are proven to be harmful. Labeled as “contraceptives” such methods induce abortion, such as the birth control pill, the intra-uterine device and the chemical injectables and implants. It likewise financially subsidized wholesale sterilization of Filipinos, offering “incentives” for tubal ligation on women and surgical vasectomy on men.

My father, the late economist Sonny de los Reyes was the Chief Executive Officer of this Population Commission. He was removed from office and his office was padlocked then for statements he uttered against some of the Commission’s socially reprehensible policies.

It is an historical fact that the government’s population control program has sterilized more Filipinos than Hitler sterilized Jews. This is anti-poor as these vasectomies are aimed to limit the population of poor families. I don’t think the gentlemen of this august body nor the other rich and influential will allow ‘that’ to be altered.

The truth is that today the United Nations Fund for Population Activities is now under the influence of the largest worldwide network of advocates of legalized abortion, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). IPPF’s first President in the Philippines in 1972 is Juan Flavier, Former President Ramos’ Secretary of Health and Senator.

The population control bills, by their advocacy of “reproductive health” and “reproductive rights” will slowly render the Philippines captive to an official language and ethic that accept abortion as a legitimate human right just like in the United States and Europe and probably in almost all countries in the world. This language and ethic were made official in the United Nations through the 1994 World Population Conference in Cairo against which Jaime Cardinal Sin, led over 2 million Catholics and Muslims in an historical protest rally on August 14, 1994.

Finally, the proposed population control policy embodied in this reproductive health code is totally unnecessary, uneconomical and questionable. The Philippines’ annual population growth rate is not, as many claim, 2.36%, but between 1.61% (United Nations, 2003) and 1.99% (Philippine National Statistics Office, 2004). The total fertility rate, or the average number of children per woman of reproductive age in her lifetime, is now 3.22; within 10 years, this rate will, on its own momentum, decrease to 2.15 (United Nations Population Division, March 12, 2005). By then, the Philippine population will begin to decline in absolute numbers, as fewer births replace the number of deaths annually.

Our country has already reached the point of “demographic transition” when the rate of growth reverses to a gradual decline. Furthermore, a definitive study of the Population Council in New York as early as 1982 concludes that the greatest factor influencing fertility decline is not a government-managed population control program. Between 35% and 45% of fertility decline is attributable to modernization, or the attainment of higher levels of human welfare and quality of life. Approximately 25 to 35% of fertility decline is induced by the simple factor of delaying the age at marriage, and 15 to 25% by the simple recourse of breast-feeding. None of these factors intrude into the health of people or violate the sacredness of life. Only between 2% and 5% of fertility decline is attributable to “managed” population control.

Besides its flaw of not significantly contributing to the alleviation of poverty, artificial birth control is highly expensive: their financial costs are recurrent and expanding due to complications; their chemical side effects, such as physical illness and emotional depression, are injurious to the health of women; and their moral consequences are damaging— particularly the sexual promiscuity bred by what their advocates falsely call “safe sex.” In fact, there is a case in the United States where due to a vasectomy after which a wife still got pregnant, the husband sued the doctor for medical malpractice, whose defense was that the child is from another man – where another issue arose — adultery.

The significant failure rates of abortifacients also induce their users to ultimately resort to what we all agree to be an abomination — abortion. Please note that all countries which officially legislated the use of abortifacients eventually legalized abortion.

I hope to be of help in putting the issue in perspective. As a Catholic politician, I am in office to deliberate and argue what I perceive to be the best policy direction for our constituents based on my conscience. This is what I was voted for. I respect though the conscientious viewpoints of the proponent and all who think and will vote otherwise. I pray that we choose the best course of action for the betterment of our city and our country.

Sincerely,

John Carlos G. de los Reyes
City Councilor

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