The Philippines has one of the worlds highest birth rates. About 40% of Filipinos, or more than 30 million people, live in abject poverty. From 2001-2008 alone their population increased from 77 million to 90 million. The country is crippled by corruption and 90% of the government budget is spent on foreign debt repayments foreign debt repayments with 90% of their government budget going to service debt repayments and government payrolls. In other words, the situation in the Philippines is even more dire than in Ireland.
The country can not afford to maintain high birth rates stretching their limited resources even further. Steps were needed to reduce the size of families. Unfortunately the country is 80% roman catholic and governments faced predictable opposition from the Vatican city state in their attempts to legalize contraception.
Thankfully, as of today, contraception is now legal in the Philippines with government health centers bypassing roman catholic controlled councils and businesses by directly supplying condoms to the population. The campaign to allow freedom of conscience and natural reproductive rights to the Philippine people has lasted over a decade and the bill looks certain to be challenged by religious conservatives in the countries supreme court.
This struggle between religions dogma and realistic pragmatism should be familiar to Irish people. We've been in that position, fought the same battle against the roman church and, thankfully, won.
The familiar catholic propaganda are present in the raging debate: population control is 'anti-life', 'unconstitutional', 'anti-family', 'rejecting the Philippines christian heritage', 'contraception does not reduce the spread of aids'.
The Philippines economy is clearly in need of further reform but population control is an essential part of that reform. Neither the Philippines nor the world has the resources to support an ever increasing population of humans. Current world wide projections put the world population in 2050 between 7.5 and 10.5 billlion. In 1950, the world human population was just over 2 billion.
Links :Housewife Nerissa Gallo, 44, who has given birth to 16 children, said she welcomed the law which would bring contraceptives into the reach of the poor.
Asked about the church's opposition, she said: "We don't pay attention to that. They are not the ones who are giving birth again and again. We are the ones who have to find a way to care for the children."
Roman Church opposes Philippines attempt at population control. ~ Through A Blog Darkly
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Philippines suffers poverty divide
Advocates In Philippines Lobbying For Family Planning Policies Despite Opposition From Catholic Leaders
Church unhappy with new Philippines' policy on family
Philippine birth control law takes effect - The West Australian