last month a friend informed me, through email, of an essay writing competition organized by the unfpa or the united nations population fund — and it was about population control, and how the government ought to circumvent the population menace by strictly adhering to birth control, and other similar measures.
the inner geek in me was intrigued, and i just let him be as i wove my words and paragraphs into an essay which juxtaposed the population problem with the current diaspora of filipinos into foreign lands just to have a good life. likewise, i related (or at least tried to, hehe) the current NFA rice crisis with the exponentially -multiplying filipino population.
it was a national essay writing competition so when i had (the) confirmation that i got second place, i was, well, overjoyed. hehe. the adjective sounds so subdued to the hysteria that ensued earlier today. haha.
although i would’ve wanted first place (fidel ramos will be giving the award, sheesh), i am still thankful i got second place because being second also means receiving a gift certificate from national bookstore worth so-so pesos.
not being a book reader, i wonder if the prize can be traded for a few bottles of beer. kidding. hehe anyway, i would like to share parts of the essay in my blog, and i hope you don’t doze off as you read it :p
‘‘The scarcity of food, the mass migration of Filipino workers: all these are indicators that the Philippines’ third-world economy cannot sustain a population that is way beyond what is statistically manageable for the government to maintain; more importantly, these serve as warnings that if the present population rate continues to exponentially multiply in light of the rapid depletion of resources, then our direction as a country is headed in a fatal path.
The current rice crisis, amid the efforts of some sectors to quell speculations of its damning repercussions, is a testament to the growing inability of the government to ensure that its people do not starve to death, or that its citizens, especially those who belong to the middle and lower classes, are still able to afford rice – a staple food for most if not all, and one which signifies the living condition of Filipinos. If the condition right now is terrifying, whereby the prospects for food sustenance and sustainability go dimmer as each day passes by, and there exists an apparent lack of viable government programs to arrest this problem, how much more when the population doubles in twenty to thirty years time?
The mass diaspora of Filipinos, for another, is a sad reminder that our collective sense of nationalism has been diluted. Families go abroad in hopes of seeking better opportunities there, students opt for courses which can guarantee them residency in a foreign nation later on, and the sense of fulfillment among some Filipinos culminate when they become naturalized in some foreign land: it is a sad picture really, but one which we have grown accustomed to. It would even be sadder when, in the course of being constantly exposed to these realities, what little sense of nationalism we have left will completely disappear, and all consciousness of being a Filipino will dissipate eventually.
Again, we see that this problem has, at its heart, the population problem, and the lack of opportunities that are available in the country. People are compelled, by circumstance, to momentarily or permanently leave the country for practical reasons – and again, if this trend continues and there is no government intervention to this modern-day phenomenon, then the possibility of the Philippines re-emerging as a strong nation will remain elusive.
It is precisely for these reasons, and presumably a lot more, that the government ought to consolidate its resolve to make the living conditions of its citizens more humane and just. Intrinsically, it has the immense power of effecting change if only it wills itself to do so and rise above its inherent susceptibility to external factors – because what is at stake here is the fragile life of the nation and the citizens that it has vowed to protect.
The right to family planning is an indispensable requisite for economic, political, and social progress – and as concerned citizens of this country, we should take it upon ourselves to demand that the government steer us in that direction – otherwise, we will succumb to the fate of continually disregarding the population problem: eventual self-destruction.’