8 Things To Consider About Duterte’s Three-Child Policy Proposal
by Tim Henares
Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte definitely got a lot of people talking when he proposed a three-child policy for the Philippines. The Catholic Church was certainly not amused, but surprisingly, some RH advocates also took this proposal to task.
Why is this proposal so controversial from all sides of the fence? What are the good things about it? What are the questionable things about it? Here are 8 things to consider about the contentious topic.
8. An x-child policy is arbitrary and unintuitive.
In an ideal world, a properly educated family will plan accordingly, and know when the right time is to have children. This was the main thrust of the RH Law: not so much population control, so much as sustainable population growth through informed choices.
A three-child policy does away with this nuance, and just imposes a maximum number of children, end of story. While we don’t have the same fear of female babies being killed as in certain other highly patriarchal countries with a one-child policy, this arbitrary limit still doesn’t make sense in the face of an educated citizenry, which, again, a properly implemented RH Law would produce.
7 This is a statement against church meddling.
While some people would say that church and state separation should only be in favor of the church, it is high time that we reduced the influence of the church in state affairs. Lately, defenders of church meddling have been citing church and state separation as a clause that exclusively protects the church from state meddling, but not the other way around. Duterte might have a thing or two to say about that.
6. This policy won’t affect families that already have more than three children.
This should be common sense, but some people have actually been complaining that they would lose one of their siblings right now if this came to pass.
5. It hasn’t worked in other countries that imposed similar laws.
In China, their one-child policy resulted in multiple “mysterious” cases of female babies dying shortly after being born. In other cases, an actual daughter becomes a mysterious “niece,” because acknowledging her as legitimate would mean they have broken the law. Do we really want to make a law that encourages people to endanger babies, as they clearly have in China?
4. This could be viable if and only if…
… it were a temporary measure, in conjunction with current RH endeavors. By educating people properly and having a three-child policy in the meantime, we can curb an unsustainably growing population from getting out of hand until an educated population would willingly do so without a law saying so.
3. It’s one of many more battles the church has to fight now.
If the Catholic church thought they had problems with PNoy and his RH-loving ways, wait ‘til they see what’s next on the lineup: anti-discrimination laws, divorce, more RH stuff, and now, the three-child policy. A bit ironic that the candidate the most dominant religion in the country would have liked the least ended up taking power, but I guess everyone’s gotta suffer somehow.
2. Overpopulation itself is not the problem.
Even an RH advocate would tell you this much: overpopulation per se isn’t the problem, but families having children at an unsustainable rate. For some families, even a single child would be too much. The three-child policy ignores all that.
1. It sounds more like an anti-church statement than sound policy.
“I will defy church teaching on this,” said Duterte. The emphasis on this point leads people to think that defying the church was the primary motivation instead of actually finding solutions to the country’s woes. This makes the people chess pieces once again on the chessboard of the Church and the State.