Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Back to School

Back in Bacolod, we didn’t have any internet access for quite some time. Customer service based in Manila kept on promising assistance that finally showed up after close to a week. Since newspapers come in only after the first flight arrives from the capital and are available in limited quantities we lived in a virtual news blackout. Proved to be quite a relief actually. We played all the golf we wanted and we resumed our reading regimen.

The kids are back to school. I am very aware and very distressed that throughout the country, a new batch of teenagers are unable to continue with their schooling and have become part of the underemployed masses. For the overwhelming majority of these kids the promise of a secure future has been permanently dashed. I personally know of a 15 year old girl, fourth in a family of 6 children who was volunteered by her parents to work as a domestic helper. She needed to start contributing to the family finances. On her first day on the job, far from her family who lived in a town 30 kilometers away, she asked for a small advance to buy soap and toothpaste.

This is the Philippines that posted a 7% growth rate for the first quarter, where the stock market has never been stronger, where billions of dollars in investments are supposedly pouring in. There is a tremendous disconnect that we must not ignore any longer because most Filipinos live in conditions that may be labeled as desperate by world standards. All you need to do is live in a more progressive country for a few years and you will understand perfectly what I am talking about. It will resensitize your senses to experience revulsion once more to many daily realities we treat with nonchalance.

It was President Ramon Magsaysay who paraphrased the adage that those who have less in life should have more in the law. This would exemplify the concept of preferential option for the poor more than anything. Oral contraception has very little to do with it and nearly assumes irrelevance next to the powerful and abundant testimonies of what evil consequences poverty and corruption bring. Next to all these personal tragedies, we who are more fortunate should use all the power that we have to lend more dignity to as many lives as we can. Anyone searching for a never-ending task need not look any further.


Delfin said...

Doc Bautista: I read in one of your earlier posts that the Philippines should increase the taxes paid by the rich. I agree with you -- the taxes of those earning over P400,000 a year should be increased. [ P400,000 is approximatey the yearly salary of a Senator.]

delfin said...

Of course, I believe that your proposal is that the tax-increase is small for those earning P400,000 a year, tax-increase is bigger for one making P800,000 a year, tax increase even bigger for one making over P2-million a year.

I support your proposal for a tax-increase on the wealthy!!!

Clara said...

Is it true that Filipinos are not taxed for the income they earn overseas? Doc... were you paying taxes to the Philippines for your Oklahoma medical practice?

That does not sound fair at all! I know that Senator Lacson as well as GMA have made hundreds of thousands of dollars (which means millions of pesos) on houses they own in the US, and they should pay taxes to the Philippines on the gains.

Doc... you are in favor, aren't you, to tax the income and profits that Filipinos earn overseas? Maybe they don't pay taxes on the first US$40,000 (or P2,000,000) of yearly-income, but there should be taxes on the rest of the gain or profit.

r.g. lacsamana, m.d. said...

(1) Clara, foreign physicians (either as permanent residents or naturalized Americans) are not required to pay taxes to the Philippine government. They pay taxes there, those imposed by the state and those by the federal government. They are also required to pay a variety of taxes, as those for Social Security, unemployment, and intangible taxes.

(2) We have known for sometime the poverty back home, which has been increasing as the population continues to surge. This explains why there are close to 10 million OFWs, without whose remittances poverty would even be more stark. It's a truism that the rich get richer, while the poor get poorer. The economy may be stronger, but
that has not filtered to the masses.

On one thing I disagree with Dr. Bautista: there is an urgent need to control the population, no matter that the Church has always opposed this. If we don't do that, we may find ourselves mired in poverty deeper and deeper, reminescent of Bangladesh, Haiti, and a number of African and South American countries. I don't find anything wrong with birth control, do you?

There is a crying need to curb corruption, but with so many million mouths to feed, that's not enough. The healthy economies of Japan and China came about in tandem with control of their populations. Though I'm a Catholic, I'm stunned that no leader has come out to vigorously wage a campaign for birth control.

Martin D. Bautista, M.D. said...

Doc Lacsamana, I don't have a problem with birth control either. I just think we should not invest too much time thinking about issues that rightly belong to every person's conscience. As physicians we have an obligation to properly inform our patients about the choices that are available to them including the side effects of these choices. Population control is a relative perspective. Is there be a problem for a prosperous couple to have 25 children? We must engage in serious debate in order to determine how to prevent the 500,000 abortions that occur in our country each year. We have a serious abortion problem in the Philippines and we are not doing anything about it.

Anonymous said...

In your other posts, you mention a "preferential option for the poor" in the context of curbing population growth. What is this preferential option you propose?

On another note, why is this preferential option only for the poor? Why deprive the middle-class of this option?

Also, you state that population control is a relative perspective, and ask the question of whether there is a problem for a prosperous couple to have 25 children, which I believe your answer to be in the negative. Are you proposing to limit the number of children poor couples have, while allowing the rich to have as many children as they want?

Martin D. Bautista, M.D. said...

Anonymous, the concept of preferential option for the poor was never used in the context of population control. You will have to cite that specific entry if it exists at all. These are unnecessary vexations.

bob said...

Actually compare to our Asian neighbors, the poor in our land re quite pampered. They can squat in any land they want and there is actually a law that prevents them from being evicted. I think that law was sponsored by joey lina. Population control needs to be taken seriously. Never mind the catholic church they have their own selfish agenda for opposing it

Clara said...

There are several issues that are with the 500,000 abortions a year.
(a) Rape/incest.
(b) Underaged sex.
(c) Unprotected sex.
(d) Unintended pregnancies.
(e) Undesired pregnancies.
(f) Lack of government nor charity financial aid to parents unable to care for so many children (and population control)
(g) Unsupervised abortion medical procedures -- Filipinas dying or getting butchered.

clara said...

There are probably 502,000 abortions a year. 500,000 unsupervised -- conducted without government oversight, a number of the abortions done by quacks and with clotheshangers.

The 2,000 are done overseas inside hospitals and/or clinics, obviously to Filipinas with enough money to obtain abortions in the US or Australia or elsewhere.

The 500,000 abortions in the Philippines result in too many Filipinas dying or getting butchered. These procedures need to get put under government oversight and conducted by duly-licensed medical practitioners.

Anonymous said...

doc: when you look at abortion, do you even see poverty (and poor parents unable to care for three, much less five or six children) as an issue? Do you, or do you not agree, that the abortion-medical-procedures currently being done "in backalleys... by quacks" is an issue?