Why do Filipinos need to be handed out free condoms? Why can’t Pinoy men just buy them like any other red-blooded guy who works for a living?
At about five to ten pesos per piece (or 15 up to 45 pesos a pack), condoms cost far less per bang (pun intended) than a baby. Simple economics — something that a private individual could understand with Grade One math. So, really, there is no need to get all hysterical about public funding for free condom distribution being cut by Philippine Congress. Mister Juan Obrero shelling out some small change out of his own pocket for a night of noise with the missus makes perfect financial sense. He should see it as an investment rather than a cost.
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One billion pesos out of taxpayers’ pockets to distribute free condoms to Filipinos, on the other hand, does not make sense. Filipinos have already been long-accustomed to the practice of blaming a lack of free stuff for their personal troubles. It is always “the government’s fault” when things don’t go quite right with their personal fortunes. The government “needs to create more jobs” to increase employment. Manila smells like an open manhole “because the government does not clean it up”.
And so now: The Philippines is over-populated because Filipinos don’t have access to free condoms!
Yadda yadda yadda.
Here’s a counter-intuitive idea riding on this free condoms demand fad. The Philippines is a stable country because Filipinos are content to sit around waiting for stuff. So our society is really in perfect equilibrium. On one side of the see-saw are a bunch of people who live — and die — on the basis of how much or how little is handed out to them. Pivoted against these mendicants on the other side are the folk with the means to build their livelihoods upon the back of their own personal abilities and cleverness.
As long as the mendicants are happily resigned to dying (or burying themselves in over-commitments, whichever comes first) when they get no handouts, the people who build profitable businesses (and lucrative political and entertainment careers) on that mendicancy are happy. Everybody is happy.
The only time a country becomes unstable is when a critical mass of unhappy people decide enough is enough. See, being unhappy is not enough. People need to have had enough of said unhappiness.
A lack of a concept of enough is the key missing ingredient in the Philippines. Without it, there can be no change. Realising that flat social brew, it becomes easier to understand why change for the better will never take hold in the Philippines. It is because Filipinos are happy with their unhappiness. It is almost like they prefer misery over progress. Indeed, the assumption that Filipinos are “clamouring for change” as a matter of routine seems to be one unilaterally held by us in the Illustrado classes. But you’d be hard-pressed to find real resolve to see said change through much less push it along coming from the grassroots.
The will to change at that level seems to have been all but extinguished by decades of disensitisation to the banal incompetency and crookedness of everything about life in the Philippines. And while the chattering classes are at liberty and luxury to pontificate about “reform” while sipping their lattes and scrolling up and down their newsfeeds, we forget that the Philippines, at the end of the day, is a democracy. In a democracy, after all, the majority gets to decide how things are done and who gets to do them. So — surprise surprise — the way things get done and the people who get to do them reflect the very same mendicant character of said majority who vote for these people and these ways.
Going back to the “issue” of free condoms for Filipinos, you see this sort of freebie-addicted attitude reflected in the way politicians are now swarming into the “debate” surrounding it waxing populist rhetoric. Woman-senator Pia Cayetano, for one, is reportedly “fuming” over the budget cut on free condoms.
“I am shocked… We work on a basis of trust — that the Chair of the Finance committee would not make significant changes without informing the body, or in the case of RH, no major changes will be made without informing me, knowing that I sponsored the measure.”
Well, that’s not to say condoms are absolutely not available to the Filipino, because, in actual fact, they are. The problem is, Filipinos expect to get stuff like that for free. And that, Madame Senator, is what is really shocking.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.