Catholic bishops ready to fight Noynoy on RH bill

Published by rudy Date posted on May 18, 2010

Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino will have hard days with the Catholic Church as far as the controversial reproductive health bill is concerned.

This as Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, chairman of the public affairs committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), told Tribune during a phone conversation that the Church has remained consistent on its position against pending House Bill 5043 or the proposed Reproductive Health and Population Development Act.

“We will not compromise,” said the Caloocan prelate as he is apparently anticipating a harder fight with pro-RH bill as the 15th Congress opens with Aquino, who appears to have won the presidential derby had indicated his support to the proposed bill even at the height of the election campaign.

The only son of late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and late former President Cory Aquino had declared that whether or not he would get the support of the Catholic Church and other pro-life groups it was only secondary since his advocacy was to get everybody educated on reproductive health.

He had said that parents should be given independence to decide on how many children they want and whether or not to use natural or artificial methods of contraception.

RH bill seeks to promote both natural and artificial birth control methods through government programs. On the other hand, the Catholic Church hierarchy, as it strongly objected to the proposed bill, said that it promotes the use of abortifacients.

It also recommends the use of rhythm and other natural methods of birth control for couples who want to limit the size of their families, the Church said.

With Aquino’s apparent firm pro-RH bill stance, Iniguez said that they (bishops) will be more visible and louder in its campaign to stop the approval of the proposed bill in Congress as he reiterated that the Church will continue to uphold its teaching especially on the importance of life.

“We will observe his conduct,” said Iñiguez on Aquino on the latter’s open support to the controversial family planning measure.

Saying that Noynoy knew very well the solid position of the Catholic Church against the pending bill, Iñiguez said he has strong belief that the incoming president will not put up an open fight against the Church hierarchy.

The Caloocan bishop, however, did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, findings revealed by the February 2010 Pulse-Asia Pre-Electoral Survey on Family Planning shows that 48 percent of Filipinos believe that the Church should not meddle or dictate in whatever family planning method couples should adopt, while majority or 51 percent of the respondents believe that it is not a sin against God to use modern contraceptives.

The same survey showed that 90 percent of respondents believe that it is important to plan one’s family and 87 percent indicated that it is important for the government to set aside funds for modern family planning methods.

Arlie O. Calalo, Daily Tribune

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