OdchimarTHE PHILIPPINES may go the way of the United States — where a “contraceptive mentality” and abortion is rampant—if the “reproductive health” (RH) bill becomes law, lay experts and clergymen have said.

At the 17th Asia-Pacific Congress on Faith, Life and Family organized by Human Life International, Church leaders said they were preparing for a “head-on” collision with proponents of the population-control bill, which will set aside billions in state funds for contraceptives.

The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, told reporters the fight against the RH bill was an uphill battle with the growing number of lawmakers supporting it.

Odchimar said the CBCP will enlist lay experts to help explain the Church’s position on the bill, which has provisions that will outlaw “disinformation” and violate freedom of speech, and force employers to distribute contraceptives to their workers.

Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto said Filipinos should learn from the Americans where a policy on reproductive health resulted in a “culture of death.”

“We don’t have to be like the first-world countries. They’re rich but they’re unhappy. We must instead remain God-loving and peaceful Christians,” Aniceto said in a press conference at the opening of the congress at the Dusit Hotel in Makati last November 6.

Human Life International Director Brian Clowes said Catholics worldwide are watching developments on the RH bill in the Philippines.

“Do not become Americans. Fight as hard as you can, the whole world is watching you,” Clowes said.

He claimed the RH bill was masterminded by foreign groups who want the Church to “shut up.”

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“That RH bill was funded and written by groups such as the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York City. They have put in $100 billion for their cause and the United States government also allotted $100 billion on RH in the last 20 years,” he said.

Aniceto said long-time “brainwashing” by foreign groups was the reason so many people are calling for the approval of the RH bill.

Odchimar said the CBCP will keep on blocking the passage of the bill despite the backing of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and the Liberal Party.

CBCP legal counsel Jo Imbong said priests, clergy, and laymen were willing to go to jail if the RH bill is enacted, referring to the provision on disinformation, which will fine or jail individuals or institutions expressing opinions on the measure.

The bill will provide access to state-funded contraceptives even to unmarried people, and may allow a person to undergo surgical sterilization without the consent of his or her spouse. Contraceptives will be declared as “essential medicines,” despite the fact that many medical practitioners consider some chemical pills as abortifacient for rendering the female uterus inhospitable to a fertilized ovum.

It will also teach children “sexual rights” as part of an overall aim for Filipinos to have a “safe and satisfying sex life.” Doctors will be penalized for not referring patients to another doctor if their consciences dictate against providing RH services.

‘Head-on collision’

Cebu Archbishop Cardinal Ricardo Vidal said there would be a “head-on collision” with those who want the RH bill passed.

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Vidal said the Church was being unjustly portrayed as an “intolerable power bloc.”

“The Church, in its pronouncement against the RH bill, is not imposing its religious tenets, but purifying and shedding the light on the collective conscience of the nation so that citizens may appreciate the objective moral values which the RH bill threatens to undermine,” Vidal said.

‘Unhappy’ nation

Clowes, meanwhile, said reproductive health is a “softer term for abortion” and claimed it made the United States an “unhappy” nation.

“The solution to poverty is not to tell families not to have children because in the last 50 years of using contraceptives in America, we still have 30 million poor people,” Clowes said.

Odchimar said there were other aspects of poverty that needed to be addressed such as the “equitable distribution of resources and land reform.”

“Ours is an agricultural country, how much of the budget is dedicated to agriculture?” Odchimar asked.

He said it was ironic that despite the fact that the International Rice Research Institute is based in the Philippines, the country is a major importer of rice.

“Now, Vietnam, despite being devastated by war, is one of the top rice-producing countries after modernizing the agriculture sector. That is a sort of [proof of the] lopsided utilization of our resources,” Odchimar said.

About 500 delegates from various countries participated in the congress. K N. C. Grafil and Darenn G. Rodriguez

3 COMMENTS

  1. What is the Filipino Culture? I know the old culture with both parents are present, and managing the affairs of children as they grow up to become a productive citizen. The culture now are kids with OFW parent(s). Are our children better off with one parent? Are husband(s) and wife(s) living apart are better off? Maybe if they have less children & they don’t have to be an OFW.

    Our culture consist of a very few rich and majority of poor. Even church s’ buildings are not appropriate to its surroundings. Elegant structures surrounded by squatters and yet criticizes the lopsided utilization of our resources?

    Our culture is very flexible. We do not allow squatters and side walk vendors on rich communities but allow it on the rest of the country. Squatters with no sanitary infrastructures and spread diseases, and by the way, sidewalk vendors are not only on the sidewalks but they are now on the streets. Our culture does not allow fake merchandize to be sold on rich neighborhoods but allows it on poor neighborhoods. Merchandize that’s harmful to society (lead paint on toys, lead on clay pots, ceramics, etc) fake DVD’s, fake designer handbags. We allow police to protect the rich and terrorize the poor. All of these happens because our culture is in ruins, for decades if not centuries.

    Now the church leaders are saying that the RH bill may ruin our culture? How can it ruin something thats beyond repair.

    Quote from Aniceto -“We don’t have to be like the first-world countries. They’re rich but they’re unhappy”. The question is – Are we poor and happy? Yes and no. Yes we are poor and no we are not happy.

  2. It is evident that this bill is the agenda of a socialistic and very liberal constituency… I do not believe the majority of filipinos favor this…. it solves nothing and creates new issues …

  3. RH Bill’s main point is to promote the use of contraceptvies… these contraceptives are TOOLS for moral degradation of the filipinos… two teenagers may decide to have sex because they are not afraid of pregnancy since they have contraceptives…and therefore, the presence of condom urges them to commit adultery…but 2 teenagers may be discouraged if there are no condom…

    this example just shows us that condoms boost the courage of filipinos, both young and adult, to commit such adultery…thus, ruining the filipino culture..

    the aim of RH BILL is good: to lessen the population…but the solution is wrong..the best solution is none other than ABSTINENCE

    good aim +bad action = BAD
    bad aim + good action = BAD
    good aim + good action = GOOD

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