Wednesday July 7, 2010

Philippine Legislators Attempting to Resurrect Controversial Reproductive Health Bill

By James Tillman

MANILLA, Philippines, July 7, 2010 ( – At least two representatives in the Philippine legislature have re-filed a controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill. The bill would bring about government-sponsored promotion of contraception and sex education.

“If they will continue to push for this Reproductive Health Bill, the Church will definitely make known its stand and oppose it,” Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez said in response.

The bill has been introduced several times in previous congresses. Only in the last did it get past committee and reach plenary deliberation; but it never came to a vote.

Rep. Edcel Lagman, who introduced one version of the bill, says he believes that rapid population growth has contributed to the Philippines’ rate of poverty. When the bill was first filed in 1999, the nation’s population was estimated at 75 million.

“Today, 10 years later, we hold the dubious distinction of being the 12th most populous country in the world with a population of 94.3 million, or a staggering increase of 19.3 million. This would translate to an annual average increase of almost two million every year in a decade,” he said.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has rejected such arguments.

“We will not join countries with collapsing population growth rates,” Archbishop Lagdameo, president of the CBCP, has said.

The brewing legislative battle comes shortly after President Aquino Benigno was sworn in as the new president of the Philippines.

The Catholic Bishops Conference has said it will closely monitor the first 100 days of President Benigno’s term.

“Otherwise we will be remiss with our duties as a Church if we don’t do that. It is part of the mission of the Church,” Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III, CBCP spokesperson, said.

Bishops have presented a 13-point agenda that they say Benigno Aquino III should address. Rejection of the RH bill, as well as rejection of same-sex union, abortion, divorce, euthanasia, and contraceptives, are among the points.

The Catholic Church is influential in the Philippines, where about 80% of the population is Catholic.

Despite the Church’s opposition, Rep. Lagman remains confident that the bill will pass.

“The enactment of the RH bill has long been delayed but its eventual passage is certain in the current Congress,” Lagman said.

In another setback for those promoting traditional values, a Quezon City Court judge has denied a group of parents’ request for a temporary restraining order for a new sex-ed program being tested in 80 elementary and 79 high schools around the Philippines.

The judge said parents had provided insufficient evidence that their children were in schools in which the program was being tested.

The program was started by the previous head of the Department of Education, Mona Valisno. The newly-appointed head of the Department of Education, the La Sallian Brother Armin Luistro, has said he will review the program.

See related stories on

Philippines Sex Ed Program Revived, but Likely to be Killed Again

UN-Backed Sex-Ed Program in Philippines Put on Hold

| Send Letter to Editor


Commenting Guidelines
LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.