07/28/2008, 00.00
PHILIPPINES

Filipino bishops: agricultural reform and defense of life, to revive the country

by Santosh Digal
Today, President Arroyo will deliver the "state of the nation" address to the House of Representatives. The Church is asking for "the creation of a plan for agricultural development", and rejection of the "pro-abortion" law, because only "by valuing the family can the nation grow".

Manila (AsiaNews) - The Filipino Catholic Church is calling on president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to talk about "agricultural development and natural family planning methods" at her annual address on the "state of the nation", scheduled to take place today at the House of Representatives.

"I hope and pray that the [president's speech] will have agrarian development as its focal issue", says Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, former head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. he emphasizes that it is fundamental to develop "the agricultural sector", an essential resource for the Philippines and traditionally the driving force of its economy. "With the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)", Archbishop Cruz stresses, "irrigation, fertilizer, and agricultural modernization, the socio economic progress of the Philippines will surely move on".

Archbishop Aniceto, Aniceto, chjairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL), calls upon Ms Arroyo to reaffirm her support for natural family planning methods, rejecting the pro-abortion law proposed by some lawmakers. "I hope the president reaffirms her stand that life is sacred", the prelate says, "and that the foundation of a strong republic is a strong family, which is also the foundation of the whole civilization". He also expresses his hope that the head of state will keep her promise to the bishops to talk about natural family planning methods today, on the occasion of her address.

The bishops announce, finally, that in the upcoming days there will be a meeting with the country's legislators to discuss the legislation under consideration in the parliament, including the controversial "pro-abortion law".

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