It takes only one to make a difference. Throughout the centuries, it has been the words and the actions of individuals that have changed the course of history and charted the path to human progress. Textbooks are lined with the names and stories of great men and great leaders that revolutionized the world irrevocably and forever.
Many proponents of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill see our ever-expanding population as a problem, a liability. People are seen as an obstacle rather than an asset on the long, arduous path to development. It is generally thought that the size of our population is the leading cause and root of our poverty.
On February 8th, two young congressmen came to Saint Pedro Poveda College to share their personal insights about the RH bill currently being debated intensely in Congress and amplified by media. The issue has been contentious as it has been divisive. Rep. Dakila Cua of Quirino district and Rep. Fatima Dimaporo of the 2nd district of Lanao del Norte were firm in their convictions that the RH bill would not only fail to address the real cause of the nation’s economic problems, but could intensify them as well. Along with seven other of our nation’s young legislators, these congressmen are advocating the belief that population is not the cause of our poverty and that spending 3 billion pesos worth of taxpayer’s money each year is not the solution we are looking for.
Education, health, livelihood — these are the true keys of progress. By redistributing the money to these vital areas, true change can be achieved. The representatives stressed that education could solve so many of our nation’s woes. By empowering women and giving them access to basic schooling, we would inevitably be achieving a more effective management of the population – an effective, and moreover natural one as women often have less children, the higher they climb in the educational ladder. Developing the potential of the individual is therefore tantamount to true development, to the kind of change we should aspire to. As with so many other things in life, it isn’t about quantity, but quality.
The state of the RH bill is a topic widely discussed in various fora, media and events across the country. What set this particular event apart was the amount of experience and keen insight the speakers had to share, in spite of their age. In my opinion, the fight against the RH bill wasn’t boiled down to being a matter of religion, of being the duty and moral responsibility of a Christian. Contrary to popular opinion, dissidents of the bill are not anti-choice. By equipping the population with the skills they need to develop individually, we would be giving them access to a whole range of opportunities, a world of choice.
The world as we know it today has been built upon the ideas and decisions of individuals. By developing the capabilities of single men, of single persons, we could effect unimagined and unparalleled progress. It takes just one human being to make change. It takes only one to make a difference.