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People used to say that the Philippines and Thailand were brother and sister countries, or also known as “twin nations”.  These same people cling to that silly idea while ignoring the numbers that show Thailand is booming while the Philippines is still moving forward about as fast as a herd of turtles stampeding through a puddle of peanut butter.  Basically we’re being left behind while the rest of the Asian countries are doubling their economies every few years.  For some reason, many people are left scratching their heads as to why little changes from year to year.  To me, it’s obvious, and I blame the Catholic Church and its role within the Government here.  Now I’m sure I’ll get a bunch of hate mail by saying the above statement, but let’s look at the evidence.  Before I go any further, let me say that I’m Catholic, but at the same time, I join many other Catholic priests who are conscientious objectors to many of the family planning policies of the Church.

The first evidence is the fact that while the USA is very much a Catholic nation and was founded by Judeo-Christian principles, they clearly make a point to separate Church and State.  Here in the Philippines, it’s the exact opposite.  The politicians need the support of the Church to get elected and then later to support them to keep the people from protesting in the streets.  In return for the support, the Government allows the Church to project its will onto Government policies.  Therefore everyone talks endlessly about population control measures, but no action is actually taken.  For goodness sake, we don’t even manufacture something as simple as latex condoms here in the Philippines!  They must be imported and it obviously makes them expensive for the 50% of the population that manages to survive on about $1 per day.

Of course, the Government likes to take credit for making the Philippines a global worker producer where we ship our able bodied people out to European and Asian countries who in turn send money back here.  The government doesn’t deserve credit though, because they stopped making English mandatory in schools 10 years ago.  What good are workers going abroad who can’t speak to their bosses in some intermediate language?  If the Government intended them to go abroad, it would have at least equipped them with the most basic of language skills.  It reminds me of how I read about the millions of Mexicans who go to the States and sends money back to Mexico.  Of course, the Mexican presidents love to take credit for the able-bodied export workers and encourage illegal immigration.  Just like in the Philippines, the Catholic Church has a firm grip in Mexico where birth control is forbidden in all forms.  Therefore Mexico is the poor, over-populated basket case of the West while the same is true of the Philippines in the East.  People even tell me that Mexican border towns are the same as the cess-pools in certain parts of Manila.  I think we have found our twin nation in Mexico, especially since many anthropologists think that Filipino fishermen and their families first discovered America by accident when their boats were swept out to sea and caught in a Pacific current during a storm thousands of years ago.  It’s funny and very sad to think about it that way but it makes you think as well, seeing how the two countries are crawling along in the same manner.  Somehow I think the relatives of the ancestors of our leaders were sitting in the fishing boat.  If true, as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

February 6th, 2005

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