RH advocates to President-in-waiting: No to church intervention, please

Published by rudy Date posted on May 18, 2010

COTABATO CITY, May 18 — The country’s reproductive health advocates are calling on President-in-waiting Sen. Benigno “Nonoy” Aquino to remain firm on his pro-reproductive health stance and never allow too much religious interference in his governance.

This call from RH advocates was raised Tuesday amid warnings from some Catholic leaders on Aquino’s stance on RH.

“In effect, what these bishops are trying to do is meddle in the affairs of the state, early at this point,” said Cong. Janet Garin, re-elected representative of the 1st District of Iloilo, said in a statement.

Garin, one of the most vocal reproductive health authors, has reminded Aquino that prior to election period, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had issued pastoral letter campaigning against candidates who supported RH bill while some bishops and its ally organizations endorsed and campaigned for Councilor JC Delos Reyes and Sen. Manny Villar.

“Sen. Aquino’s winning of the election despite the massive campaign from the leaders of the Catholic church confirms that majority of the Filipino people favor reproductive health and family planning program,” Garin said.

“His winning the presidential race proved that he is on the right track in supporting family planning and responsible parenthood.

“He should remain true to his pre-election statements that he will support programs that will provide Filipinos access to reproductive health and family planning education and services,” Garin added.

Meanwhile, Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) lauds Sen. Aquino, Jr. in standing firm on his pro-reproductive health stand despite warnings from some Catholic leaders at the height of the campaign period.

“We encourage him to stand firm, heed the call of the majority of Filipinos and never give in to pressure from some bishops,” San Pascual said.

“I said some bishops, because, there are still more progressive bishops who are supportive of Sen. Noynoy and agrees with him on this pro-reproductive health position,” San Pascual said in separate statement.

“We urge him to remain steadfast. The overwhelming vote he got from the Filipino people proves that the Catholic church has no mandate in the Filipino electorate in matters related to reproductive health and family planning,” San Pascual said. (PNA) LOR/NYP/EOF

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