THE GOVERNMENT should not dictate the number of children couples must have and instead let families decide for themselves, the head of an economic think-tank has said.

Amid fierce debate over Reproductive Health Bill 5043, Bienvenido “Nonoy” Oplas, Jr., president of Minimal Government Thinkers, Inc., said the state has no role in curbing population size and the bill will only expand the government, which is already bloated and inefficient.

Oplas said the parents should plan their own families without intervention from the government.

“There is no ‘desirable population growth’ to be set by the State. The couples will decide the desirable size of their household based on the couples and their support system’s (clan, extended family, relatives, friends, voluntary charity system) capacity to support every additional child,” Oplas told the Varsitarian. “The state should not spend taxpayers’ money on condoms.”

Advocates of the RH bill argue that a national reproductive health law should be crafted to control the rising population, now at around 90 million.

When signed into law, RH bill will pave the way for massive government spending on artificial methods of family planning, including over-the-counter contraceptives.

Oplas explained that the economy can benefit from either a fast or slow population growth rate.

A slow increase in the population size is ideal if “there is high poverty already.” In this case, parents should be responsible enough to provide their children “good education, nutrition, and health care.”

“The economy can (also) benefit from high population growth, if the government will not intervene heavily in business — people starting their own businesses, hiring and firing people, and easier mobility across countries and continents of people and their goods and services,” he added.

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To ease poverty, the government should pour resources into creating more jobs and reducing taxes, Oplas said.

“The State should over-regulate murderers and rapists, over-spy embezzlers

and robbers, over-persecute land-grabbers and kidnappers, and should hit hard on criminals,” Oplas said. “If the government will stay out of the bedroom, there is no need to legislate this bill and related type of proposals.”

Changes in the bill

In any case, Oplas said the RH bill would be acceptable as long as it would not require married couples to attend seminars about nutrition and breastfeeding. More importantly, the bill must not impose family-planning education on elementary and high school students.

“These things the couple can learn from their parents, friends, neighbors, and associates. They need not pay additional fees to local government and spend additional hours or days on additional requirements,” he said.

“If [family-planning education] will become mandatory, then other groups will also lobby strongly that environment and climate change, that drug abuse, that gender equality, be made mandatory for all classes from elementary to high school. Goodbye math and science and grammar. Students will be learning subjects forced on them by lobbyists, and not what they will need in the future,” Oplas said. Prinz P. Magtulis

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