By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

MANILA, Philippines, November 4, 2008 ( – Ligaya Acosta, Director of Human Life International (HLI)-Asia, says the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) of the Catholic Church in the Philippines will continue its work to stop the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill currently before the House of Representatives.

Acosta, a Catholic physician, told the Union of Catholic Asian News that before joining HLI-Asia, the worldwide organization dedicated to upholding the value of human life based on Catholic teaching, she had worked for 29 years with the Philippine Department of Health. She resigned, however, to protest the department’s “deception” in promoting its programs, citing a recent survey which purported to show that most Filipino adults favored the proposed law.

“I have discovered the questions were framed in such a way as to favor the bill. Their results are not the message I hear from the people I speak with as I go around the country,” she explained.

ECFL chairman Archbishop Paciano Aniceto of San Fernando said in a statement issued through the bishops’ conference, “The alleged survey appears to be part of a desperate attempt to force through a bill whose basic moral and legal infirmities have been thoroughly exposed in the debates and which is fast losing ground in Congress.”

The Reproductive Health Bill, also known as House Bill (HB) 5043, seeks to enact legislation that would mandate government funding for a massive regime of population control that would employ abortifacient contraceptives, sterilization, and sex education for public-school students from the fifth grade onward.

Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, has said, “The subtle attacks on family and conjugal morality through legislations that promote artificial methods of birth control are couched in attractive but deceptive terminologies like Reproductive Health Care, population management, anti-discrimination of women and children, reproductive rights and patients’ rights.” He also pointed out that poverty is not caused by overpopulation but by misuse of public funds.

Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales of Manila, speaking after an Oct. 19 mass at an urban poor community in Manila, told reporters that lawmakers who really want to help improve people’s lives must repair roads, build playgrounds, improve delivery of free education and seek other creative ways to build up the family.

Archbishop Lagdameo told Christian Today Australia news service that the Church is also intensifying its effort in educating its members of the disadvantages of the Bill and the need for them to adopt natural family planning as the only acceptable form of family planning, adding that the proposed use of vasectomy, intrauterine devices (IUDs), condoms, and tubal ligation, which are part of the provision of the bill, are sinful.

“The way they want to achieve the end is just wrong, through the use of artificial contraceptives and that is what we are trying to make the public to understand,” the Archbishop said.

Archbishop Lagdameo condemned the bill and called on all Catholic faithful in the country to oppose the passage of the bill by being part of the intended one million signatories being mobilized by the Church to stop its eventual passage into law.

See related coverage:

Philippines in Struggle Against Abortionist Population Control Initiative

15 Filipino Bishops Lead 12,000 in Prayer Rally