I used to be Pro-RH Bill. But that's the beauty of democracy - one can change one's mind without fear.
The debate on this bill will go on forever and ever as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end.
It has been said that this bill will protect women from unwanted pregnancies and children from poor health and lack of opportunities due to the exponential growth of population by ignorant parents who copulate and reproduce offspring with abandon.
In the mid 1940s, our population was at 17 million. Seventeen million Filipinos at war against Japan. Today we're 90 million Filipinos and we are still engaged in a war, but this time against each other. Seventeen million brave and patriotic Filipinos won the war against a very strong foreign enemy. Today, 90 million Filipinos are weak-kneed against the war on poverty.
Why don't we - all 90 million of us - step back for a second and ask why we have poverty in our midst? Is it really because there are 90 million of us?
Some quarters say that poor families make babies year in, year out because they have been poorly educated, if at all. If that is so, then our problem is education, not population.
If our problem is poor education, then let us all ask ourselves, why do we have poor education? Is it because we have ill-prepared teachers? Is it because we lack appropriate school facilities? Is it because we don't have good books? But why is this so when education is given the highest budget allocation?
Some quarters say that because there are ten children in the family, low-income parents can't feed them and send them to school. If families live in shanties they don't own, pay monthly rent for it, pay for water and other utilities, buy every single meal for the day, they will definitely die with eyes wide open. But imagine this, a family of 12 living in a farm with their own house and vegetable garden at the backyard and a small army of chicken below the hut somewhere in Maguindanao where people live in peace just like the rest who live in other provinces. There are no insurrections, no rebels against the government, no terrorists living in our midst. The town and city mayors work only for the welfare of the people. The lawmakers, all honest, sincere and competent, constantly improve laws to fit the needs of the people and not some influential individuals. We have this kind of living conditions and all 10 children will have good education and a promising future. The mother at age 45 will put to shame the twenty-year olds. (The dozen children having been conceived not out of ignorance but of choice, the mother having been properly educated in a system that can compete with the rest of the world.)
Is this Utopia? Yes.
But let us ask why we cannot have our own little Utopia: a good education system; a sincere and working government from the barangay offices to the Malacanang; a legislative body of upright and brilliant men and women; courteous, courageous and incorruptible soldiers and policemen.
Is it really because and only because there are 90 million of us?