He urged Catholic lawmakers not to be swayed by political parties who promote personal interests ahead of the next elections and enjoy the backing of contraceptives manufacturers and suppliers whose sole goal is to make profits and have access to bigger markets.
In this debate the views of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are again back in the limelight.
Her Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said that her preference for natural family planning is an executive statement, not government policy. For now, the President is allowing Congress “to determine the policy on a very important issue like reproductive health,” Dureza told lawmakers at the House of Representatives. However, he noted that the President would “have her own take on the matter at the proper time.”
Dureza's statement came in response to a question by one of the main supporters of the reproductive health bill who asked if the President's statements were an “executive statement” or “government policy.”
The president’s spokesman reiterated that “the president,” the mother of three, “has a clear policy that she is against artificial means of family planning.”
Conversely, the reproductive health bill has received the backing of an important Filipino Protestant Church, which said that family planning should be left to couples.
“We respect what they (Catholics) believe in, if they want to air their side to the public or to the media provided they don't condemn (anti-poverty) projects of the government,” said Pastor Abel Baclayon of the New Life Christian Center.
The Protestant clergyman said his group doesn't consider it a sin for couples to use artificial contraceptives like condoms and pills.