Roundup: Family Planning in the Philippines Boosted By President

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Roundup: Family Planning in the Philippines Boosted By President

Robin Marty

President Aquino takes a firm stance on providing birth control to poor families, angering the country's powerful Catholic church.

Family planning in the Philippines is gaining more ground recently, due to the efforts of President Benigno Aquino, who is battling the country’s highly influential body of Catholic priests.  Now Aquino is declaring his intention to provide birth control to poor families in the region. And despite the opposition, Aquino is declaring he will not back down.

From GMA News:

President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III will not change his stand on responsible parenthood despite the Catholic Church’s opposition to the use of artificial birth control methods, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

In an interview with reporters in Malacañang, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino, a Catholic, has always supported responsible parenthood and informed choice in family planning.

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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“Even during the [the presidential] campaign the president already stated his position on the matter. It’s more of responsible parenthood, we believe that parents should be the one to decide on the size of their family, the manner and the method by which the planning should be done,” Lacierda said.

The presidential spokesman said Aquino respects that parents are “the ultimate decision-maker on the size of the family.”

Now the Catholic church believes he is selling out souls for cash from the United States.


In Manila, Fr. Melvin Castro, executive director of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, linked Mr. Aquino’s statements to the US grant of a $434-million (P19 billion) financial assistance to the Philippines.

“It’s just a small amount compared to the moral values that we are going to lose,” Castro said. “Apparently for that measly sum of money in the name of fighting poverty, here we are again, selling out the Filipino soul. It’s just sad.”

“We prayed and hope that the President would see through it, that he would not tie the country to a US ideology in exchange for this grant,” he added.

Castro said the Church was “hurt more than being disappointed” with Mr. Aquino’s pronouncement.

To be sure no one is lead astray by the President’s statement over the weekend that he will find a way to provide birth control to those who are too poor to obtain it themselves, the Church has declared it will begin protests and letter-writing campaigns.

Preliminary consultative meetings among lay leaders, most of whom supported Aquino during the elections, were to take place in the capital within the week, said Fr. Melvin Castro, executive director of the Catholic bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Family and Life.

Castro said the Catholic clergy, including the bishops, would back such protests, which would later trickle down to the provinces.

“Our lay leaders, who have their own families, see the need to be very visible in this protest and we respect their freedom,” Castro told the Inquirer over the phone on Tuesday. “On the side of the clergy, we will simply support them in this initiative.”

The protest would initially take the form of letters to legislators and national leaders and, later, members will take to the streets to send a stronger message to Aquino.

“This is not to be confrontational with the President, but among them are people who really supported him during the elections, so I hope he would listen to them because these are the people who elected him into office,” said Castro.

“We have to react no matter how we respect the President because this is a serious matter… it is the Filipino family at stake here,” he added.

Aquino is providing support to some powerful politicians in his country over this issue as well, who hope that this is a sign that he will be taking a stronger stance on the country’s reproductive health bill, as the Manila Bulletin reports:

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday threw their support behind the controversial position of President Benigno S. Aquino III backing a family planning bill and in the process locking horns with the Catholic Church.

Aquino, while on his way home from his US trip, had stirred a hornet’s nest when he sided with forces that favor the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, also known as family planning measure, in the wake of the country’s runaway population that is expected to increase to close to 100 million Filipinos in the next few years.

Marcos, a member of the House of Representatives in the last 14th Congress, said the President’s support for the bill is “good” even as the President, in the May 10, 2010 presidential election, “got a big support from the Catholic Church.”

As a co-author of the RH bill when he was a Lower House member, Marcos said passage of the measure is a welcome development and a big boost to the Aquino administration’s pro-family planning position.

Once family planning becomes a reality, can the country get to work on legalizing divorce?  In a country “that views the number of mistresses a man keeps as a reflection of his social status and power,” one can only hope so.

Mini Roundup:  Abusing power?  A Wisconsin DA resigns for making allegedly making sexual advances at women who’s domestic abuse cases he’s trying, and a California cop does a “fake” arrest on a teen having sex with his step-daughter.

September 28, 2010

September 27, 2010