Philippine Bishops Praise Senators Expose on Reproductive Health Bill

Various International Lobby Groups Allegedly Behind Measure

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MANILA, Philippines, AUG. 16, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Vicente Sotto III, a senator in the Philippine Congress, has won praise from ranking Catholic bishops for his expose surrounding the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

Sotto revealed various international lobby groups behind the measure and their motives that would allow abortions to be performed in the country.

He particularly cited the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which has long been providing birth control services to many nations, as among those pushing for RH’s passage in the Philippines.

"We appreciate those who advocate for pro-God policies," said Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

On Monday, the senator also said it is his "personal" mission to block the passage of the population control bill because his son died due to the side effects of contraceptives.
He became emotional as he blamed contraceptives for the medical condition of his son, Vincent Paul, who died five months after he was born in 1975.

When asked to comment on the senator’s statement, Archbishop Palma said, "The advocacy of leaders really depends with many things and other context of morality. We are grateful for those who support pro-life laws."

For his part, Bishop Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo, chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said they are still hopeful the RH bill will not be passed into law. "We are still hopeful even if we really don’t know what our lawmakers are thinking. We are still praying that it will not be passed," Bishop Reyes said.

Now that the Lower House has entered into the period of amendments, the bishop called on lawmakers to omit the “wrong” provisions in the measure. "Among them include the questionable sex education program and that employers should provide contraceptives to their employers," the Filipino prelate said.

Bishop Reyes also revealed that many lawmakers who favored the termination of the debate on the RH bill assured them that they would reject the bill once it is put to a vote on second reading on the floor.

"There are congressmen who told us that they will vote for an end of the interpellation but when time comes that they have to vote for its passage, they will vote no," he added.