Philippines’ ‘Vatican’ shows force against RH Bill

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TAGAYTAY City—Since 1960 when oral contraceptives became popular in the United States, the number of ‘out of wedlock’ births rose from 6 percent, at a rate of one in every 17 births, to 42 percent or more than four in every ten births.

The US divorce rate increased by 250 percent within 20 years since contraception was introduced, while the rate of “unmarried cohabitation” grew by 1368 percent. More than half of children born to girls younger than the age of 18 are fathered by adult men and over 50 percent of teenagers believed “out of wedlock” childbearing was a “worthwhile lifestyle.”

“‘Contraceptive societies’ have characteristics in common. Ours will share them if we allow it to,” said Timothy Laws, chairman of the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc., a multisectoral organization that moves to preserve Filipino family values and opposes the Reproductive Health Bill.

Laws presented the studies on Friday in a gathering of about 500 Catholic priests, nuns, and laity who joined a prayer rally from the Tagaytay City rotunda to the Our Lady of Lourdes parish, where Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of the Diocese of Imus also celebrated a Mass.

“Contraception changes the way people think about sex (and) marriage. A ‘contraceptive society’ creates promiscuity and sexual liberation,” Laws added.

Fr. Samuel Agcaracar, SVD, and president of the Tagaytay Religion Association that organized the march, said it was the “biggest” assembly against the RH Bill in this city, also known as the “Vatican” of the Philippines for being home to 61 Catholic congregations and formation houses.

“We hope this will enlighten (the legislators) to review their position (on the bill),” Agcaracar said.

Addressing the audience, Sister Pilar Verzosa, RGS, and founder of the ProLife Philippines, announced that “more” legislators, who she said have to be unnamed at the moment, have turned against the bill.

In her speech, Verzosa urged the public to “keep its vigilance” as there were also several congressmen, whose position on the bill had remained “neutral.”

“It was the Church who first used (the term) ‘responsible parenthood.’ The President has just changed its name but the contents remained the same (as those with the RH Bill),” Verzosa said.

Early this year, President Aquino announced a plan to certify the “responsible parenthood” bill with inputs from the Catholic Church in place of the RH bill.

Verzosa said it is not wrong to talk about sex but discussions have to take place at the proper venue.

“The government is just telling us that (the RH Bill) is not about abortion. But if we look closely at it, that is where it is leading us,” said Marian Navarrete, 34, and a mother of two, who is also taking up a certificate course in Theological Studies.

Nigerian priest Paul Ashoro of the Somascan Fathers said the religious community in Nigeria last year had opposed the government’s legislation of a bill promoting contraception and succeeded.

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