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Philippines Population Bomb

The Philippines are warm and welcoming with friendly faces calling out "hi Joe" and "hi friend". Warm seas and fresh fruit make it easy to enjoy. A fresh peeled pineapple is fifty cents and a small bunch of bananas is a quarter. Working toward food security I have become a vegetarian and a meal might be, as it was yesterday, jackfruit and heart of banana cooked in coconut milk and pinakbet (squash with beans) and rice. The meal cost one dollar. I enjoy also kinilaw, which is the Philippines version of ceviche but using ginger instead of chilis for spiciness. Filipinos eat more meat than any other Asians and they pay for it in food scarcity and health problems. Still the majority of young women have the figures of the fashion or swimming suit model, mostly because they work so hard. Its always surprising when you see them with their grace squat on their haunches or climb a tree for a coconut!

The Philippines is dependent upon remittances to its citizens working abroad, both men and women, and parents are dependent upon their daughters for support as they age. Occasionally a son will help but mostly they are fully occupied one way or another either with their own growing family in the best case scenario or with alcoholism and cockfight gambling and scamming. It is surprising how prevalent the cockfighting ingredient is among women who have been abandoned with child. In many cases the woman continues to be married but the man is just not there, he is off playing with his cock. In either case the responsibility of supporting the parents often falls on the daughters, often the youngest one. She may be trying to support the children she has been left with while trying to earn enough to support the parents as well. Sales lady or house cleaning earns about twelve dollars a week while a woman with a degree, a nurse or accountant might get twice that. It is not surprising that many look for work abroad or try to become a companion to a foreigner. Their natural grace and beauty makes this an easy option.

Building convergences of integrated rice duck and other natural agriculture methods only goes a small way toward solving the problems that the Philippines faces. Veritas Social Empowerment with all its tools and brilliance also can go only a short way. Direct marketing of food from the small farmer to the consumer will increase efficiency but may still not keep up with the population growth, which is still above two percent annually. This population increasingly want to eat pig and chicken flesh, not vegetables, and it takes a lot of food to produce these fatty and unhealthy meats. The government attempts solutions which are contradictory in nature, such as subsidizing imported rice while providing training in better rice production. We need the carrot AND stick approach to get the urban poor to get out in the country and grow food on small plots using natural method. It would make real sense to end subsidies for imported rice while redirecting that money toward the aging parents so that the impulse for large families is lessened. Likewise the subsidies that make pregnancy so acceptable need to be examined. There probably should be disincentives to pregnancy like China used to control their population growth (successfully!). The government's effort to implement a family planning law is compromised by attitudes of support for pregnancy and subsidies to go along with those attitudes.

Population growth in the Philippines is the number one national security threat, that is clear!

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