Manila (AsiaNews) - Filipino bishops have announced a campaign of "civil disobedience" against the possible passage of the law on reproductive health. Yesterday, Msgr. Arturo Bastes bishop of Sorgoson said: "We, together with our priests are willing to go to jail, to protest against this immoral action."
The bishops state that the campaign does not seek to overthrow the government, rather it is a stance to forcefully rejected the bill and will take place in a peaceful manner. In a pastoral letter Msgr. Nereo Odchimar president of the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, called on people to oppose the bill and to act against its passage. The prelate stresses, however, that the organization of demonstrations and other forms of protest will left to the free choice of each believer. According to AsiaNews sources, the bishops are united in their opposition, but there is much uncertainty among lay Catholics. In February, the measure will be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies for final approval. In order not to hurt the feelings of Catholics, it will no longer be called the "reproductive health law," instead the law "for responsible parenthood." However, dispositions that will allow the use of contraceptives considered abortifacients, sponsorship of the law in schools and the prohibition of conscientious objection for doctors will remain in force. This despite the efforts of the Church and most recently President Benino Aquino, who had announced a review of the most controversial points of law.Meanwhile, the pro-life 'Association Human Life International (HLI), will organize a demonstration in the coming days to ask the president Aquino to resist the pressure of international organizations that sponsor the birth control as a way to reduce poverty. According to Rene Bullecer, director of HlI the president is being pressured by international agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). They have donated over 900 million U.S. dollars to the government to force Aquino to take a step back. (Sc)