Philippines: City of Guilt, A Reaction

Warning: This post may contain sensitive information/opinions about the RH Bill, Abortions, Contraceptives, and Aliens… Proceed only if truly, truly interested. Not to mention, it’s quite lengthy.

I recently stumbled upon a riveting piece of documentary called City of Guilt. It’s a 20-minute documentary about the thriving backstreet abortion industry in the Philippines. In the documentary, it seems to suggest that people in the Philippines are driven to these extreme conditions because of our country’s lack of a good reproductive health bill.. Basically, people fuck, they get pregnant, they realize “oh wait, Im poor”, and then they do the abortion… which of course is illegal in our country, so now they have to do those scary-assed backstreet operations which leaves around 80,000 women a year in the local hospitals, or worse, 6-feet under.

At the same time, the documentary, also, seems to suggest that the best way to prevent these things from happening is by having a fully functional reproductive health bill to take care of the people living under the poverty line.  Basically to have contraceptives readily available  for people who need them (which are the poor). In fact, according to a survey, as mentioned by a women’s rights group centered on selling cheap contraceptives to women from the slum areas of Manila, that half of the pregnancies there are either by accident, or even unwanted.

Essentially, the backdrop of the documentary is the entire over-population situation in the Philippines, and the concerned parties involved in it. The documentary suggests that the reason thousands of Filipinas a year risk health problems to get their illegal abortions is because of the fact that they have no other choice.  They cannot afford to raise their would-be children because they are so poor, that they can even barely take care of themselves.

Below is the 2-part video of the documentary…warning, this contains uber-sensitive material…not entirely graphic… but mostly sensitive.

It seems to me, that if anything, the main problem isn’t the lack of contraceptives, or even a reproductive health bill. The main issue at hand is that these women are scared of their pregnancies because they have no means of caring for their child/children. Now unless they come up with Contraceptive Breakfast Cereals (which I doubt they will), contraceptives, clearly are not the answer. The only thing that needs to be done is to create more jobs, livelihood, and schools for the Filipino people. Logic dictates that if a person has the means to care for a family, then that person would no longer need contraceptives or even, god-forbid, an abortion.

Cooperatives are a good way to ensure Rural Development

Seriously Philippine Government, instead of spending millions and millions of pesos on your “extremely needed” reproductive health bills, why not just spend them on thousands and thousands of classrooms for the millions of under-privileged youth in the country? “Oh but if we make these classrooms, we”ll only be wasting money ’cause the kids won’t even want to go to school, because their parents are going to need to to work/beg for them to put food on the table…hence, we gotta keep these people from being pregnant”. Really? That’s the logical explanation for supporting the Reproductive Health Bill? Why not do some Job Generation for the poor? SOMETHING GOVERNMENTS ARE SUPPOSED TO DO. Or hell, why not DEVELOP the rural areas around Metro Manila? (AGAIN, SOMETHING YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO, BUT FOR SOME REASON, REFUSE TO). Do we have money to do all these? Probably not. But it’s a good thing our President has his PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) Program…which I find ironic because he supports the RH Bill.

The PPP is there to ensure that whatever infrastructures we lack, but desperately need, could be achieved to further the progression of the Philippines. Now doesn’t this seem like a more feasible, and not to mention, logical solution to our supposed Population Problem?

The RH Bill clearly is the wrong soution

Which leads me to the question: What population problem? You mean the millions and millions of people living in Illegal settlements in Metro Manila? Here’s a thought… move them. No, no, no, not just MOVE THEM but MOVE THEM TO A PLACE THATS CONDUCIVE FOR HUMAN LIVING. Dammit, of course they’re going to put up a fight if you try to move them. In Metro Manila,while they may literally be living on mountains of crap and trash, at least they’re making 150Pesos a day.

But what if the government develops the rural provinces, via an agricultural route (which by the way, we’re supposedly really good at, because, well, we are an agricultural country) and move these illegal settlers within these communities, assuring them of 1) Jobs, 2) Water and Utilities 3) Schools for their children, 4) Public transport to ensure that they won’t have to spend much on a private car, and 5) Security, to, well, ensure they don’t get stabbed (which btw, is a prevailing factor among people living in the urban poor areas within Metro Manila). Now doesn’t this seem like a better idea than the RH Bill?

You're right, How can people move around in such tight, open, spaces??

The only over populated areas in the Philippines are the Metropolitan areas, which Metro Manila leads by a landslide. If we introduce the RH Bill, NATIONWIDE, then that would mean that, in the long run, our country’s population will decrease exponentially, because let’s face it, no ones getting pregnant, and giving birth. And, choke on this, study geeks, never, in the history of  CIVILIZATION has there ever been a country that progressed because of the lack of manpower. If anything, the more people you have, the more manpower you have, and the more manpower you have, the more labor proficient your country becomes..which means… economic activity.. the main driver of commerce in a country. Who are we to say that we are an exception to this rule? To history? Look at the once powerful nations, and their decline because of a decreasing population. Singapore actually promotes getting pregnant and having a family to the point of giving tax breaks to people to have kids, even going so far as to create a whole marketing campaign for it. Wouldn’t that be nice? Get paid to have sex? Legally? and have kids?

We are a powerhouse in supplying manpower abroad… why the hell would we want to limit our own cash cow? OFW Remittances reached a whopping 21.3 Billion $$$ in 2010 alone (Thats over 905 BILLION PESOS). Are you telling me, that limiting our own population, which effectively would limit our workforce, would increase OFW Remittances? Hell no.

Cong. Eduardo Zialcita is right. Limiting our population isn’t the answer to impoverished individuals. If anything, increase in population is the answer. We are not overpopulated… we are over-congested in KEY areas of the country.  Again, why not develop the cities outside of Metro Manila? The Provinces? Move the people away from the congestions? This may be a bit more costly, but this will greatly benefit the country in the long run, economically, and culturally. Western nations look up to us to feed their need for laborers and manpower (probably because of their own fauls via their respective RH Bills), why would we want to be like them, and start importing laborers as well, when we, as Filipinos, are clearly in demand? (and not just as Blue-Collar workers, mind you, we’re in demand as fucking professionals…boo yeah).

I find it really funny, as well, that the US is pushing this RH Bill towards us, saying that it did really well for their country, etc. etc. But at the same time, they’re experiencing underpopulation problems in their country, directly because of their loose stance on reproductive health. The same thing has been happening to countries in the European union and Japan. Simply put, more people are dying, but less and less people are being born to replace them. The result: underpopulation, and economic collapse. So why then, does the US support our RH Bill? Population is a country’s greatest treasure. Not dollars, not gold, but manpower. Which is why it is hard for me to fathom because the US seems to be in support of OUR RH Bill. In fact, in 1974, then US state secretary Henry Kissinger wrote a report on the implications of a worldwide population growth for US security and Interest. In this report 13 countries were deemed problematic for US Interests if the countries ever increased in population… The Philippines is one of them. I know this sounds made up, and, to be honest, kind of conspiracy theory-ish but it is true. Check it! The National Security Study Memorandum 200 Boo yah. This study promotes pushing contraception to these 13 countries. Oh my god. Btw, this may have JUST been a report in 1974, but it was duly enacted as part of a government program in 1975 by President Henry Ford.

I just find the notion of the Reproductive Health Bill so illogical. It says it’s there to cure Poverty when it clearly would CAUSE poverty. It say’s it’s there in support for women’s rights, wherein it clearly undermines the woman’s NATURAL biology of childbirth, and at the same time provides fatal health risks (and here too, and here) (via the chemicals present in these contraceptives to made available via the RH Bill). The only clear reason I can think of is that the amount of money Pharma companies will get from this bill being passed, not to mention the traditional kotong our politicians will recieve, is fucking ginormous. 

So, by all means, Philippines. If you want to put more money in the pockets of our corrupt politicians, then please, support this Bill. If you want us to not have enough manpower that we’ll barely survive (Finland has been reported seeking more and more Fins for manpower services as it’s population is rapidly aging), then please support this bill. If we don’t want to force our government to improve living conditions within the country, and in effect develop the less-develop areas of the Philippines (something they’re supposed to do) then please, by all means, support the RH Bill.

Not this "Finn".

If you notice, never have I mentioned the Catholic church in this entire article. Simply, because, like most Filipinos, I believe that, while the Catholic church has a say in this, as a Filipino congregation, not everyone in the country is a Catholic. Besides, this RH Bill is so illogical, we really do not need any Religious arguments to go against it. Passing the RH Bill, clearly is an insult to the intelligence of the Filipino people, regardless of Religions, Socio-economic class, gender, age, etc.

People, It’s a stupid bill. Let’s face it. We do have problems, but the RH Bill is not a solution, it’s an accompaniment.

So please, leave God out of it all you want, but you cannot deny the fact that this Bill is simply barking up the wrong tree. The RH Bill wont solve all the problems it’ll solve. If anything it’ll make them worse. People don’t get hurt from abortions because they’re illegal, they get hurt because it’s not a safe practice, wether legal or not. Plus, you know, there’s that whole guilt thing people talk about. Let’s face it, if there’s a medical condition about it, then it’s I’m sure as hell it’s not a good thing. Kinda like Syphilis.

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6 thoughts on “Philippines: City of Guilt, A Reaction

  1. Taxes should be lowered. We can trust the people to handle their own money instead of giving it to the government who either uses the money for unnecessary laws and bills (Anti planking seriously?). The lower the taxes the more business owners can invest. The more they invest the bigger their business will be. When business becomes bigger the demand for labor becomes bigger hence more jobs, more money, and better capability to raise a child.

    • While I agree that Taxes are indeed at a high, I still believe that Taxes do good for the economy. I just wish they would be diverted to more useful things. Your comment has a bit of Libertarian views in it. Read this blog http://harryleaks.blogspot.com/ I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Thanks for the comment man!

  2. Good to know the youth have thought this out and realized the stupidity of this bill. I don’t know how people can believe that whatever budgeted money for this bill will actually get to the intended recipients. Hello pinoys, read the papers, there’s always a story about govt money mysteriously disappearing. Remember during school opening, it was found out that most public schools had no chalk? There’s more but I can’t remember them right now….old age…argh….loved your post btw, hope other people your age read it

  3. hai! this is erin. anyway, your comments in between these marks //, and my comments follow.

    i dunno yet if i’m for the bill or not, as i haven’t read it in toto, but the following are just my replies to the arguments you’e made:

    1. // It seems to me, that if anything, the main problem isn’t the lack of contraceptives, or even a reproductive health bill. The main issue at hand is that these women are scared of their pregnancies because they have no means of caring for their child/children. Now unless they come up with Contraceptive Breakfast Cereals (which I doubt they will), contraceptives, clearly are not the answer. The only thing that needs to be done is to create more jobs, livelihood, and schools for the Filipino people.//

    I think you’re missing one key thing about the bill – this is arguable, but I’d say its primary intention is for women’s rights. The UN recognizes reproductive health as a fundamental right of women (Sadik, 1997), considering they are the childbearers – a woman’s risk of death in childbirth is high especially in developing countries wherein the risk can be as high as 1 in 7. The more pregnancies a woman has, the greater the total risk becomes. (UNICEF, 1996). Claire Delfin (2009) wrote in a news article based on the UNICEF State of the World’s Children 2009 Report, “The report says that a child born in a developing country like the Philippines is almost 14 times more likely to die during the first month of life than a child born in a developed one. In the Philippines alone, about half of the deaths of Filipino children under five years old happen in the first 28 days of life… One in every 140 pregnant women dies in childbirth in the Philippines. Too many compared to, for example, Ireland’s one in 8,000. Each day, 11 Filipino pregnant women or some 4,500 each year due to complications in childbirth brought by hemorrhage, sepsis, hypertension and abortive outcomes, which are actually preventable. Seventy percent of these deaths occur at childbirth or within a day after delivery. Department of Health (DOH) data show that poor and uneducated women who are living in rural areas or in urban poor communities have a high risk for neonatal and maternal death.”
    Secondly, it’s not just an issue of whether they have the capacity to support X number of children; it’s also important how many children the woman actually WANTS to have. According to a report by the Guttmacher Institute (2003) regarding the condition in the Philippines, “women want even smaller families than they have (Chart A). The wanted total fertility rate was one child lower than the total fertility rate in 1998.*Although this gap had decreased somewhat since 1993 (when it was 1.2), the level of unwanted childbearing was very high: About one quarter of the average woman’s lifetime births were unwanted (that is, they occurred after she had decided that she wanted no more children or at a time when she specifically said that they were unwanted).”

    So why do they keep having children then? The Guttmacher report continues, “, four in 10 users depended on periodic abstinence, withdrawal or other traditional methods, which have high failure rates. However, a substantial proportion of women who wished to stop having children reported that clinics did not provide any advice on contraception (15% in 1994 and 23% in 1997).” And this is notable – the report states that the husband’s attitude and behavior towards family planning also serves as a barrier towards them limiting their number of children.
    Based on these statistics, you can see that women actually want smaller families – but because of factors such as ignorance as well as the husband’s attitudes (for instance, typical gender role of the woman in a marriage is of submission to the husband, so when he asks for sex he expects her to give it even if she doesn’t want to, as well as his reluctance or refusal to wear a condom or to follow family planning), these are compromised. So with these in mind, I’d like to return to a statement you made prior to the quoted paragraph:
    // The documentary suggests that the reason thousands of Filipinas a year risk health problems to get their illegal abortions is because of the fact that they have no other choice.//
    Well, yes. They got pregnant even though they didn’t want to – no modern methods available, the only method they used and were aware of was natural family planning or withdrawal, with their high failure rate, etc. You can’t even ask for a morning after pill in Mercury Drug because it’s been banned in the Philippines. You can’t ask for abortions in clinics because of the negative stigma. So you can either buy illegal abortifacients or get a back alley abortion if you truly don’t want to go through childbirth (lalo na for teens).

    2. //Logic dictates that if a person has the means to care for a family, then that person would no longer need contraceptives or even, god-forbid, an abortion//

    Not sure if I understood this correctly but…so everytime a couple has sex, they don’t need to use contraceptives? Wouldn’t this sort of eliminate sex for pleasure? I think that even if you’re a rich married couple, you still have the right to choose only to have sex for procreation once or twice (pwede rin wala e).

    3. //“Oh but if we make these classrooms, we”ll only be wasting money ’cause the kids won’t even want to go to school, because their parents are going to need to to work/beg for them to put food on the table…hence, we gotta keep these people from being pregnant”. Really? That’s the logical explanation for supporting the Reproductive Health Bill?//

    I’m afraid this is a straw man fallacy…

    4. //Why not do some Job Generation for the poor? SOMETHING GOVERNMENTS ARE SUPPOSED TO DO. Or hell, why not DEVELOP the rural areas around Metro Manila? (AGAIN, SOMETHING YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO, BUT FOR SOME REASON, REFUSE TO). Do we have money to do all these? Probably not. But it’s a good thing our President has his PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) Program…which I find ironic because he supports the RH Bill.
    The PPP is there to ensure that whatever infrastructures we lack, but desperately need, could be achieved to further the progression of the Philippines. Now doesn’t this seem like a more feasible, and not to mention, logical solution to our supposed Population Problem?//

    The 2 paragraphs above seem to assume that you can only support one initiative at a time. It’s not mutually exclusive; one can support reproductive health and also provide more job opportunities. Both are causes the government should support.

    5. // Which leads me to the question: What population problem? You mean the millions and millions of people living in Illegal settlements in Metro Manila? Here’s a thought… move them. No, no, no, not just MOVE THEM but MOVE THEM TO A PLACE THATS CONDUCIVE FOR HUMAN LIVING. Dammit, of course they’re going to put up a fight if you try to move them. In Metro Manila,while they may literally be living on mountains of crap and trash, at least they’re making 150Pesos a day.
    But what if the government develops the rural provinces, via an agricultural route (which by the way, we’re supposedly really good at, because, well, we are an agricultural country) and move these illegal settlers within these communities, assuring them of 1) Jobs, 2) Water and Utilities 3) Schools for their children, 4) Public transport to ensure that they won’t have to spend much on a private car, and 5) Security, to, well, ensure they don’t get stabbed (which btw, is a prevailing factor among people living in the urban poor areas within Metro Manila). Now doesn’t this seem like a better idea than the RH Bill?//

    I’d have to agree with you on developing the provinces, although I’d also like to invoke what I said earlier about mutual exclusivity. I also suggest that the provinces be developed not just with basic needs but also with something to provide them entertainment – I know someone who asked a squatter why he stayed in Manila even if it meant being part of the urban poor. He apparently said that the provinces were boring – at least in Manila, may entertainment daw.

    6. // The only over populated areas in the Philippines are the Metropolitan areas, which Metro Manila leads by a landslide.//

    I’d assume this is also true – we can’t speak for other provinces or cities unless we’ve done an exhaustive census but the population density in Manila is indeed very high.

    7. // If we introduce the RH Bill, NATIONWIDE, then that would mean that, in the long run, our country’s population will decrease exponentially, because let’s face it, no ones getting pregnant, and giving birth.//

    I think this is a slippery slope. People will still want children – it’s just that those who actually want the kids will have them, and less of the pregnancies will be unwanted. Making condoms and contraceptives available will not magically make people not want offspring.

    8. //And, choke on this, study geeks, never, in the history of CIVILIZATION has there ever been a country that progressed because of the lack of manpower.//

    I think this is a tautology, really. By saying ‘lack’, you are already implying there was something missing in that civilization which led to why it did not progress – unless you can quantify the phrase by giving a specific value or population density. It’s like saying, no pizza has ever been completed because of the lack of ingredients. Then again, I think I see your point – I agree that you do need a sizable enough population to generate income, but I’m not sure if progress is necessarily or always directly proportional to population. While you mentioned Finland in the latter part of your post, they did achieve a notable feat: the country has a population density of only 16/km2, and they have a GDP per capita of $34,900 (2009), while Sweden is one of the most progressive and prosperous countries with a GDP per capita of $37,000 (2009), and a population density of 21/km2. Let’s compare this to the GDP per capita of the Philippines: $3,300 (2009).

    9. // If anything, the more people you have, the more manpower you have, and the more manpower you have, the more labor proficient your country becomes..which means… economic activity.. the main driver of commerce in a country. Who are we to say that we are an exception to this rule? To history? //

    Like I said earlier, I don’t think it’s simply a linear relationship – if anything, it’ll probably increase up until a point limited by your resources, then it’ll curve.

    10. //Look at the once powerful nations, and their decline because of a decreasing population. Singapore actually promotes getting pregnant and having a family to the point of giving tax breaks to people to have kids, even going so far as to create a whole marketing campaign for it. Wouldn’t that be nice? Get paid to have sex? Legally? and have kids?//

    How do you mean by their ‘decline’ though; in what sense? If we take a look at Japan, they do have a long-term problem. A 2010 editorial in the Japan Times says this, “The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research estimates that Japan’s population will dip below 100 million in 2046, below 90 million in 2055 and down to 44.59 million in 2105. If this trend continues, the labor force and consumer markets will shrink, having a strong impact on the economy.” So you’ve got a point there – although I’m not sure if the Philippines will ever get to that point. Man-woman relations in Japan tend to be more distant and cold compared to our country, but that’s just my guess, lol.

    11. // We are a powerhouse in supplying manpower abroad… why the hell would we want to limit our own cash cow? OFW Remittances reached a whopping 21.3 Billion $$$ in 2010 alone (Thats over 905 BILLION PESOS). Are you telling me, that limiting our own population, which effectively would limit our workforce, would increase OFW Remittances? Hell no.//

    There’s no guarantee that a larger number of children will also yield a larger number of OFWs, especially if they’re unwanted.

    12. // We are not overpopulated… we are over-congested in KEY areas of the country.//

    I get that certain areas are congested, although I’d like for you to substantiate and provide more solid evidence for the claim that we are not overpopulated. I also noticed that you’ve yet to tackle the issue from an ecological angle; what’s your opinion regarding that? Would you say that our limited resources would be sufficient to support a greater population than what we currently have?

    13. // “I just find the notion of the Reproductive Health Bill so illogical. It says it’s there to cure Poverty when it clearly would CAUSE poverty. //

    Hmm, how so? I don’t think you’ve clearly proven this yet.

    14. //It say’s it’s there in support for women’s rights, wherein it clearly undermines the woman’s NATURAL biology of childbirth, and at the same time provides fatal health risks (and here too, and here) (via the chemicals present in these contraceptives to made available via the RH Bill).//

    I also read the 3 links and I’d like to comment on each. In the first article, it says that the risks for liver and cervical cancer increase after long-term contraceptive use, but that there is only a small increase in breast cancer risk and after “ ten years after cessation of use, the risk appears to be similar to that in never-users.” At the same time, it actually decreases the risk of developing endometrial and ovarian cancers. It also concludes with this note, “Because use of combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives increases some cancer risks and decreases risk of some other forms of cancer , it is possible that the overall net public health outcome may be beneficial, but a rigorous analysis is required to demonstrate this.”

    Regarding the 2nd article, the problem with the article is that it automatically places all the blame on oral contraceptives as the source for the estrogen pollution, when a study done by the University of California San Francisco (2011) found that ethinylestradiol, the most commonly used estrogen in birth control pills actually accounts for less than 1% of the estrogens excreted by the Americans (which then go into the sewage, and into the water source with the feminized fish). Cancer treatments, hormone replacement therapies (which use horse estrogen and which have been tested and shown in the lab to induce the said effects in fish), runoff from livestock farms (estrogens excreted by animals) all contain these estrogens and all contribute to the estrogen pollution you find in the water.

    Regarding the last article, I can’t find a source or link to support the claim that Plan B caused 8 deaths. I did find this though: “There are few absolute contraindications to the use of combination-hormone emergency contraception. There are no contraindications to progestin-only emergency contraception” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005). In this case, Plan B (levonorgestrel) contains only progestin, and is in fact safer than those containing a combination of hormones aside from progestin.

    Last, I’d like to quote Cong. Edcel Lagman (2008): “Medical and scientific evidence shows that all the possible medical risks connected with contraceptives are infinitely lower than the risks of an actual pregnancy and everyday activities. The risk of dying within a year of riding a car is 1 in 5,900. The risk of dying within a year of using pills is 1 in 200,000. The risk of dying from a vasectomy is 1 in 1 million and the risk of dying from using an IUD is 1 in 10 million. The probability of dying from condom use is absolutely zero. But the risk of dying from a pregnancy is 1 in 10,000.”

    15. // The only clear reason I can think of is that the amount of money Pharma companies will get from this bill being passed, not to mention the traditional kotong our politicians will recieve, is fucking ginormous. So, by all means, Philippines. If you want to put more money in the pockets of our corrupt politicians, then please, support this Bill.//

    Well, our politicians are certainly corrupt – and I get your concern because of the lack of transparency. But I’d also argue that even if you don’t support the bill, the corrupt ones will find ways to leech you of cash anyway. I’m also not really sure why you distrust Big Pharma, but that’s another topic for another day.

    16. // If you want us to not have enough manpower that we’ll barely survive (Finland has been reported seeking more and more Fins for manpower services as it’s population is rapidly aging), then please support this bill.//

    AFAIK, the bill doesn’t intend to cause an actual population decline, much less to the point of Finland. After all, from 307 people per km2 down to just 16 per km2? That’s a really big jump. You’d need genocide for that – roughly 86, 000,000 people.

    17. //If we don’t want to force our government to improve living conditions within the country, and in effect develop the less-develop areas of the Philippines (something they’re supposed to do) then please, by all means, support the RH Bill.//

    I go back to what I said about the two goals not being mutually exclusive.

    18. // People don’t get hurt from abortions because they’re illegal, they get hurt because it’s not a safe practice, wether legal or not. //

    I don’t know why this issue was raised, because nowhere in the bill does it say that it permits abortion. Women will be treated if they are suffering from post-abortion complications, but this doesn’t mean that the doctors accept abortion per se.

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