7th Billion Baby in the World’ Philippines no RH poster girl

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has issued a severe warning on the states of the world as its population hit seven billion—"Plenty of food, but one billion people go hungry"—but Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III dismissed it as a potent argument for the passage of the reproductive health (RH) bill.

"Danica May's birth should be a celebration of life and not be used to spread fear about population growth," Sotto told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone, referring to the Philippines' symbolic seven-billionth baby, who was born at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila five minutes before October 31.

"All this talk about the world's resources not being [sufficient] to accommodate the growing population is a scare tactic," the senator said.

"They shouldn't try to be smarter than God," he said, referring to those pushing for a population control measure worldwide. "He has a process of life and death and they should not interfere with God's process."

It has been reported from all over the country that there is a dangerous side effect for using artificial medicine to control the populations. Even in the remote areas of the Philippines they complained that after taking a medicine to abort the baby inside their womb, it didn't succeed and the baby comes out with disorder and abnormalities.

Instead of easing life, the abnormal babies could become a huge responsibility of the poor family raising them until they get old. 

Commenting on Monday on the seven-billion population, Assistant Health Secretary Eric Tayag said: "We should really focus on the question of whether there will be food, clean water, shelter, education and a decent life for every child.

"If the answer is 'no,' it would be better for people to look at easing this population explosion."

But Sotto, who is questioning the need for the RH bill cosponsored by Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Pia Cayetano, argued that even if the world's population doubled to 14 billion, "all of us could still fit in the state of Texas."

He was mouthing the oft-repeated contention of those opposing the passage of the RH bill to debunk the argument that the world was becoming smaller with the growing population.

Interpellation resumes January 2012.

With the world's population now hitting seven billion, Sotto said he was anticipating that the Senate debates on the RH bill would shift to the need for "population management."

The Senate had shelved Senate Bill No. 2865 and all other measures to concentrate on deliberations on the proposed 2012 national budget for the rest of its sessions this year.

Sotto said interpellation on the bill would resume in January and would involve nine more senators: Sergio Osmeña III, Ramon Revilla Jr., Antonio Trillanes IV, Joker Arroyo, Manuel Lapid, Manuel Villar, Gregorio Honasan and Loren Legarda.

Even Senator Panfilo Lacson, an author of a version of the RH bill, was listed among the interpellators, according to Sotto.

Proponents of SB 2865 had earlier said the measure was not intended to control population but merely to provide access to information on reproductive health.

But Sotto said they had "conveniently" ignored medical findings showing that many of the artificial birth-control methods and items—which would be made available by the RH bill using taxpayers' money—were "abortifacients."

"We have unmasked the real score about these birth-control methods and I won't be surprised if the debates shift to population management, especially with the population now at seven billion," he said.

'Population Not a matter of area'

In its official website, Pro-life Philippines Foundation Inc. cited "basic calculations by area [that] all six billion people on the earth today would fit within the state of Texas [the biggest in the United States], with each family having a house with a little yard."

"So, it is not a question of area. The problem is the growing concentration of large numbers of people in certain cities, caused by the deterioration and lack of opportunities in the rural areas. This migration to cities, occurring mostly in developing countries, has left most of the countryside uninhabited, while the cities are confronting serious problems with basic infrastructure, health services, food supplies, education, transportation, sewage disposal, and housing," it added.

In the Philippines, the population density was 260 persons per square kilometer, according to the results of the National Statistical Coordination Board's 2007 Census of Population.

Metro Manila was the most congested by region with a population density of 18,650 persons per square km.

'Terrible contradictions'

At a press conference to mark the UN declaration that the world population had reached seven billion, Ban said the world was marked by "terrible contradictions"—"lavish lifestyles for a few, but poverty for too many others."

"What kind of world has baby seven billion been born into? What kind of world do we want for our children in the future?" Ban said.

He said he would take his message that world leaders need to battle inequality to the Group of 20 summit in Cannes this week.

"We cannot burn our way to the future—at the cost of destroying our planet. And we have to empower women and young people. Around the world, they have taken to the streets demanding their rights, new opportunities and a voice in their future," he said.

Indian Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the birth of the seven billionth child was "not a matter of joy but a great worry."

"We shouldn't be celebrating," he said Sunday in an interview with The Times of India. "For us, a matter of joy will be when the population stabilizes."

India's population, the world's second biggest at 1.2 billion, is set to surpass China's by 2025, according to the US census bureau.

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