02/06/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Filipino bishops to back pro-life candidates in upcoming elections

by Santosh Digal
A “Covenant for Life” is signed. It calls on candidates in the May 14 elections to give priority to life and family and offers them support.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Filipino bishops have decided to back candidates in the upcoming May 14 local elections who oppose family planning and divorce. The prelates and Pro-Life Philippines have signed a “Covenant for Life” which pledges support for aspiring elected officials who give priority to policies that respect first and foremost human life and the family.

Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), explained that “Through this covenant, we hope to encourage senatorial and party-list candidates to support programs that are pro-life and pro-family.”

Mgr Aniceto lamented the absence of a bill promoting natural birth control methods, saying that artificial methods are getting more attention from politicians despite the strong opposition from the Catholic Church.

“There is a need to deliberately articulate the faith-based guiding philosophy of defending life and the family,” the archbishop stressed.

He admitted that Catholic bishops could go as far as “campaigning against candidates who have been known supporters of anti-life bills.” He added that “campaigning against them is not political because life is the bearer of human rights and when you violate it, other rights will disappear.”

The position of the ECFL chairman is not an isolated one. At the end of its annual general assembly, the CBCP leadership said it would leave to individual bishops the choice whether to endorse or campaign against a candidate.

In addition to Mgr Aniceto, CBCP Vice President Archbishop Antonio Ledesma is considering campaigning against political dynasties while Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said he would support anti gambling candidates.

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