Sunday, January 17, 2010

2010 Election Update: Perlas and Delos Reyes on the issue of Population and Environment

January 16, 2010 Bo’s Coffee, Glorietta 5, Makati City – In the first installment of the Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD) and the Probe Foundation’s Mulat Pinoy Kapihan Series, 2010 Presidential candidates Nicanor Perlas, an environmentalist and independent candidate and Ang Kapatiran standard bearer Councilor JC delos Reyes takes on the issue of population and its impact to the environment. Together with WWF Philippines Jose Ma Lorenzo “Lory” Tan and PCPD Executive Director Felicitas “Fely” Rixhon, they’ve discussed the issue regarding bloating population and how it affects the environment.

In the Mulat Pinoy’s Population and Development primer, it says that the increasing population has a direct impact to the environment, where the environment is the main source of man’s basic needs such as food, water, shelter and clothing. With the rapid increase of population, the demands man increases in order to supply the needs of the community. But replenishing resources takes long and could not afford the needs of men, where in the community its not only men who lives in what we call ecosystem. We human beings co-exist with nature’s flora and fauna which also takes their part on the resources that the nature produces (food, water and shelter). With the impact of global warming, climate change and human being’s neglect over the environment, the delicate balance of nature is jeopardized.

According to Fely, as of 2000 there is 2.36% growth in the population. Presently, the rate has increased to 2.4% and the trend would double within the next 30 years here in the Philippines. The problem with the increase of population is the increasing demand that a growing community needs. And yet, with regard to the environment, it cannot sustain the increasing demand of man and it will take time to replenish. She said that the poor are those who were directly affected with this problem, who lives on one dollar budget per day (45 Pesos). Watch the complete discussion of Director Felicitas “Fely” Rixhon below:

Supporting to Fely’s statement is WWF Philippines CEO Lory Tan who was fresh from the Copenhagen Summit last December. He mentioned that the population has a big impact to the environment. He added that within 60 years the consumption of fish stock in the Philippines would increase to almost 90% according to Bureau of Fishery. He also cited that the increasing trend of deforestation in the country is rapid due to the demands of shelter and other needs. He mentioned that there are two main environmental problems in the country, first is climate change and second is the failure to execute environmental laws and guidelines. The issues and topics on climate change were discussed in the Copenhagen Summit in Denmark last December 16, 2009. Despite the lack of resolution in the said conference, it marked the beginning of people’s awareness with taking care of Mother Nature.

Environmentalist Nick Perlas agreed on what Lory stated. Perlas also mentioned that he has proposed ideas and actions in his platform. Watch his ten minute stand on the topic of population and environment where I wanted that readers of this blog will see his idea first hand.

Opposing to the idea that the country is over populated is Ang Kapatiran standard bearer Councilor JC delos Reyes. He mentioned that the country is not over populated and the issue of poverty is not in relation of population that is increasing but it is rooted from the corruption in the government. Here is the complete ten minute statement of delos Reyes on the topic.

I was confused with the statement that the country is not over populated by just looking on the idle land as delos Reyes answered my question. On the other hand, Perlas only answered me with “undetermined.” Frankly, I’m supporting reproductive health that will first safeguard the rights and health of women from their husbands forcing them to have from the health problems caused by unplanned pregnancy. Others may not agree with me especially who sees that having large number of children might be benefiting in the future or by those who never sees the life of those living on marginalized poverty. I just want to make it simple like in our economics class on high school which I commonly used on this blog entry: the increase on population triggers the increase on demands, but not all producers can supply the need…which then leads to scarcity of resources. It’s like the environment who cannot sustain supplying the increasing needs of the growing populace, since it takes time to replenish the resources. Trees don’t grow overnight together with the bearing of fruits, reaping of rice and wheat. It goes the same with the sources of meat and so are the other natural resources.

Controlling population doesn’t mean deteriorating the race of the Filipinos as contrary to the statement of one of the Kapatiran’s senatorial bet. Controlling the population means conserving the use of resources for future needs. I don’t believe in the idea “na magsaya hanggang meron pa, dahil bukas maaaring wala na” (enjoy while supply last). The reason why we conserve is that we would like our future generations to enjoy what we have now. The message of the first Mulat Pinoy Kapihan Series on Population and Environment is simple: we would like to see and listen to the stand of the presidential candidates on specific issues. I learned a lot from the organizers especially from other guest coming from Conservation, Foundation for Philippine Environment, student body and members of Mulat Pinoy, that population affects environment who serves us resources of our needs and that is plain and simple. With regard of the United Nation Millennium Developmental Goals, the topic on population and environment hits four aspects: poverty, environment, women and children.

The Mulat Pinoy Kapihan series will have another session at Bo’s Coffee, Glorietta 5, Makati City on January 23, 2010 at 2PM, with the topic: government resources and population dynamics. My questions with regard to the next week discussion are:

  • Is there any government policy that would answer the growing population of the country?
  • Given that the population increases, how will the government cater to their needs such as education and healthcare?
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