This refers to the news item titled “Overpopulation good for Filipinos, says bishop” (Inquirer, 12/29/12), where Bishop Gilbert Garcera of Daet was reported to have said that poverty brought people “closer” to God and was instrumental in realizing God’s plan for Filipinos to take care of other nationalities by inducing migration and working abroad.
Every time I come across such remarks similar to this one from leaders of the Catholic Church, I cringe and I remember that this is one of the reasons we, as a nation, are stuck where we are.
There is nothing noble about having nothing to support your children with, about bringing them into the world with no chance of having a good, quality life, or of having access to quality education and health care. There is nothing noble in keeping Filipino women ignorant of methods that will enable them to plan better for a sustainable, dignified future for their family and to fully participate in society.
There is nothing noble about keeping information from women that will empower them to make decisions about their own bodies and their own lives, and to be more than just child-bearers, and possibly serve as, say, teachers, doctors, artists, and leaders. There is nothing noble about going through a life of suffering when it can be avoided.
There is no sense in perpetuating a vicious cycle of poverty that prevents children of God from realizing their full potential.
As for the bishop’s remark on the unequal distribution of wealth, I cannot believe that a member of the Catholic clergy has the gall to say this, as if the Catholic Church is not one of the largest landowners in this country; when the Church doesn’t even have proactive programs geared toward structurally channeling the Church’s vast holdings into sensible grassroots initiatives that will build communities of educated Filipinos, not just puppets reciting “The Lord’s Prayer” without reason or passion.
Indeed, I entirely disagree with the bishop and his peers when they assert that overpopulation and poverty are not problems. The two most certainly are real challenges that even their flock feel to the very depths of their beings, to the very cores of their souls. There is nothing noble about a debilitating existence mired in poverty and deprivation. Nothing.
—AISSA MARIE DE LA CRUZ ANG,
Master in Business Administration 2013,
Asian Institute of Management, AB Development Studies,
Minor in Chinese Studies 2009,
Ateneo de Manila University,