Finnish documentary on Philippine birth control cause debate

“When children are born at almost two million per year and a population of 100 million touches, the Philippines is running an intense and emotional debate on the prevention and family planning,” Finnish film director Eero Ojanperä write in the synopsis for his nearly one-hour documentary “Eyewitness: Church and Condom” on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill filmed in the Philippines by the Finnish Broadcasting company Yle.

Government representatives such as Senators Gringo Honasan and Pia Cayetano expresses their differing views in the film as well as street people, health workers, a UN representative and the church.

“The current population growth causes high pressure to the whole society, from schooling to housing and food and water supplies. People have also become export products, and even today, one in 10 of the Filipino works abroad,” Finnish investigative journalist Eero Ojanperä says in the introduction.

“The Catholic Church [in the Philippines] is stubborn and even holier than the Pope, it does not accept any form of birth control, not even condoms,” the commentator says in the film.

“This is the moral law of nature of which we can not compromise,” is the comment of Bishop Gabriel Reyes in Manila, the Catholic Church representative.

Varied reactions
The documentary film funded by a government media agency elicited varied reactions from Pinoy expats and Finns alike, when shown in primetime October 10 on national television in Finland.

Ritchelle Moncera, a Pinay in Finland was grateful for the documentary on the Philippines.

“One intriguing issue,” she said.

Ai Toroba, another Pinoy commented, “Truly sad truth, the more population, the more you become poor.”

John Estallo in Finland expressed why he is against the RH bill “It would use portions of my tax and my remittance (thru Philhealth) to purchase tons of condoms and contraceptives for my poor countrymen… business feast of the local and international private companies.”

“I only hope one day there would be no need to report on so sad a situation”. Filippiinit-seura ry Riitta Vartti commented in community Facebook posts, with a link to the TV report that can be viewed online.

Doomed to powerty
“At the present birth rate, the Philippines is doomed to poverty, especially for the ever growing number of children per family in the slums that number to a dozen or so,” Eero Ojanperä wrote in the synopsis.
The Church wanting to keep a young and growing population as a resource is ridiculous, Senator Cayetano argued. She is shown as a proponent in pushing the family planning law to support families towards better health care services.

“As long as the poor don’t have time or strength to think of their situation the rich can continue their current lifestyle. It is also possible the rich just live so thoroughly separated from the poor that some of them cannot see what is going on, ” Riitta Vartti, Finnish-Philippine Society, commented in her Facebook post.

Finland, known for the high status of women in society, is interested in the Philippines population and humanitarian issues. From Finland’s perspective, the Philippines are suffering from overcapacity of population.

“It is no coincidence that a milestone celebrated just in the Philippines by UN representatives a year ago was a Manila-born baby girl, who was given the honour to be the world’s seventh billionth human being,” the report noted.

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