MANILA, Oct. 5, 2008—The Catholic Church’s position on the Reproductive Health bill is absolute, said an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
CBCP spokesperson Msgr. Pedro Quitorio III said there’s no way that the Church will soften its position against the controversial bill currently pending in Congress.
“As of now, the stand of the CBCP on the RH bill is absolute. There’s no way to compromise,” he said in a forum in Intramuros, Manila.
Quitorio, however, admitted that they haven’t come up with a plan yet on what their next move will be in the event the bill is approved in Congress.
“The leadership hasn’t thought of what will happen afterwards. I can just surmise that if it gets approved, the CBCP will definitely do something,” he said.
At present, he said, they are concentrating on lobbying against the bill because of its anti-life provisions.
On Thursday, it was reported that the number of legislators in favor of the Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood, and Population Development Act of 2008 or House Bill (HB) 5043 climbed to 108 from 103, only 12 votes shy of approval in the House of Representatives. The bill needs 120 votes to be approved on second reading.
On the other hand, CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life head and Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto said he is not in the least bothered by the development as he expressed confidence that the lawmakers would eventually make the right decision in the final voting.
“This is not a statistical contest. Above all our strategy here is a prayerful campaign. We will pray for the whole church that they will ask for divine assistance and we also pray for our legislators. They are men and women who are educated and they have their own conscience. This is also a test of maturity for our legislators,” he said.
The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) also joined the Catholic Church’s voice in opposing the bill.
"We stand by the Church as she respectfully signified her strong objection to the contraceptive program the Bill promotes, considering the practices which it shall engender," CEAP said in a statement posted on their website (www.ceap.org.ph).
"Both Sacred Scripture and Reason proposed that the best form of birth regulation is self-discipline," it added.
Instead of allotting P2 billion from taxpayer’s money for the purchase of contraceptives, the CEAP has urged lawmakers to use the money for education, livelihood and basic public services.
The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) is the biggest organized group of Catholic schools in the country, with about 1,252 member schools. (CBCPNews)