July 15, 6:35 p.m. – Religious and sociocivic organizations convened today to reaffirm their opposition to the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, with Congress set to resume sessions later this month.

Catholic, Baptist, and Muslim leaders, as well as non-government groups led by Pro-Life Philippines, have joined together to form the “Pro-Life Coalition” to ramp up opposition to the RH bill, which aims to channel billions of pesos in state funds to a massive birth-control program.

In a statement, coalition members said they would give their “unwavering support to all pro-poor programs of the present administration” but would “strongly oppose and vehemently resist all moves by any individual, group or institution to enact the RH Bill into law.”

“We fully stand behind more socially and morally relevant bills, like the Right to Information Act, that will significantly bolster the war against corruption in all levels of government,” said the statement, read by Baptist preacher Bienvenido Abante, a former Manila congressman.

“All the attempts to pass the bill are works not according to the will of God,” Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said. “We must have an effort to preserve life in all aspects.”

Former Senator Francisco Tatad of the International Right to Life Federation challenged President Benigno S. Aquino III to protect the pro-life legacy of his mother, former president Corazon Aquino. “Many parts of the constitution are pro-life and it is because of late Cory Aquino,” Tatad said.

Tatad pointed out that 42 countries are already experiencing declining birth rates, and even Russia, whose population is on a decline, has recognized the errors of birth control.

“Birth control is not the essential component of marriage and politicians should recognize that demography affects the world,” said Tatad, a former Varsitarian editor.

The press conference at Club Filipino in San Juan was held in line with the upcoming 43rd anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the papal document that reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s teaching against artificial birth control.

The Pro-Life Coalition will hold a “People’s Congress” on July 25 to call on lawmakers to junk the RH bill, on the same day as the President’s state of the nation address. James Bryan J. Agustin


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