Today, I digress from the usual topics of politics and foreign affairs. I will dwell on a major problem that is of equal significance to our national life. The downside of a burgeoning population contributes to unemployment and poverty. Any government plan to solve the problem would be at best palliative and overtaken by a runaway population.
The Philippines’ population is at a point of no return to manageable levels. This could hit 105.7 million by the end of the year 2017. This was according to the Population Commission which projected the increase from its present 100.3 million. PopCom blamed the shortage of available contraceptives and the Supreme Court taking its time to rule on pending petition to block the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law passed by Congress in 2013. The Catholic Church and the Pro-Life advocates are staunchly opposing the RH Law.
But let’s stop blaming the High Court and the Pro-Life groups for the country’s runaway population. The culprit is the Filipino culture that encapsulates the non-use of condoms. Filipino men are obsessed with the macho mentality to prove their virility in raw form sans the use of condoms that capture the seeds of their manhood. This prevalent macho culture transcends no matter the men folk’s station in life. The poor, many of them living in ambulant, makeshift caritons (carts) continue to add to the population making you wonder how they are able to proliferate in such cramped space and abysmal living quarters. We can only presume the city’s darkness when night falls plus their and their partners’ libido defy space and prying eyes.
Rich men, on the other hand, are even proud to show off their power and their prowess, often parading in public their multiple wives and households. One such public official even made it to Malacañang when he was voted president by a public inured to immorality.
Hence we see so many children born out of wedlock. So many young girls become mothers even before the usual child-bearing age. This is the sad state of our society. Is this blight in the Philippine social milieu a reflection on the failure of the Church to do its moral responsibility ? I’d better stop here lest the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Pro-Lifers and the Taliban of morality gang up on me.
In Hungary, the country’s small population is even going down. When I was first posted as Philippine ambassador to Budapest in 2002, Hungary’s population was at its peak at 10 million. But when I was transferred in 2009 to reopen the Philippine embassy in Warsaw, Poland, the population of Hungary even went down further to 9.7 million. So no one can trace to and blame me even a slight rise in the country’s population.
While a small population makes governance more manageable, it also, on the other hand, poses a problem for Hungary’s social security state. As anyone knows, a country’s social security is shaped like a pyramid with the wide base supporting the retirees and pensioners at the top. Without a base support from a new crop of workers, the beneficiaries at the top of the pyramid could topple. This is the dilemma facing a socialist state like Hungary which is xenophobic in its state policy that bars migrants like the recent wave that flooded Europe.
The migrants, evacuees fleeing the brutal civil war in Syria and the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, merely used Hungary as transit point and continued their trek to Austria and other parts of Western Europe like Germany and France.
Now, don’t think Hungarians are a disciplined lot and abstain from sex the whole year around. Disciplined they are, but certainly do not practiced abstention. The women are beautiful—tall, blonde and statuesque. The men, most of them anyway, are proud of their bodies and more often than not are gym rats. Budapest is not known for just the River Danube and the classical music of composers Bela Bartok (1881-1945), Liszt Ference (1811-1886) and Erkel Ferenc (1810-1897). Against this cultural backdrop, Budapest is also known as the porno film capital of the world!
If so, why the declining population? The best source of the reason for this is the largest manufacturer of condoms in Europe. The German firm’s sales figures the last two decades show that it is in Hungary where its condom product sells the most across Europe.