Anti-RH group says it plans to declare entire Cebu ‘pro-life’

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Monday, June 20, 2011


THE recent meeting of Church leaders and politicians was part of a plan to declare the entire Cebu pro-life, said church officials.

The pro-Reproductive Health (RH) camp, meanwhile, said it will continue its campaign on the merits of the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011.

Human Life International country director Dr. Rene Bullecer said the plan to declare Cebu as “anti-RH bill” is a significant part of their campaign.

The bill, according to Church leaders, contains provisions that are against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Among the items the Catholic Church is fighting are the proposed distribution of artificial contraceptives and the implementation of an adolescent sexual education program in schools.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will continue to dialogue with politicians.

“As of the moment, our concern is to reach out to as many congressmen and senators whose votes count,” he told reporters last Friday.

He said it is part of the bishops’ duty to educate the country’s leaders on how to understand the bill.

Rep. Luigi Quisumbing (Cebu, 6th district) said he is not in favor of the RH Bill, while also admitting there are provisions in the bill that he is not completely opposed to.

“I want to make sure that the bill can truly accomplish the goals it purportedly can do,” he told reporters yesterday during the launching of his “Senior Citizen Wellness Program” in Mandaue City.

Mortality rate

But he said he is concerned if the bill can address the high maternal mortality rate in the country.

Quisumbing was absent at the meeting with Palma last Friday. He said he had a meeting in Congress that day.

Quisumbing said the bill has divided the country.

“It will be a letdown if it will not accomplish what it is expected to do,” he said of the bill.

Last Wednesday, Quisumbing visited Palma and told him he is against some provisions of the bill.

He said he will elaborate his stand during his interpolation in Congress.

Quisumbing has been attending committee meetings as vice chairperson of the committee on national defense.

Palma, who is also CBCP vice president, said the Cebuano leaders’ support for the Church’s anti-RH bill stand shows their “reflection of a deep conviction of people, who are pro-God and pro-country.”

“In the national level, we are acknowledging people who to us are our friends in this noble cause,” said the prelate.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, who spoke in behalf of local government units (LGU) in the Province, pledged to support the stand of the Church.

“I would like to send a very clear signal to all LGUs to pick up the stand against this RH bill. I will soon be meeting with the Provincial Board and of course the vice governor (Agnes Magpale) to discuss how to enunciate further this stand against the RH bill,” said Garcia in an interview after the meeting on Friday.

Bullecer said the plan was to identify and gather “all pro-life and pro-church politicians (from legislators to Association of Barangay Council presidents) to be tapped in the pro-life crusade.”

In a separate interview, Catholics for Reproductive Health (C4RH) member Leny Ocasiones said the education dissemination program of the group will continue at the grassroots level.

She said the group is always welcome in the communities they visit.

“It seems like there is so much hunger for information about RH,” she said.

“Aside from Gabriela (partylist) Cebu members, we also have the Barangay Health Workers’ organization solid behind the RH bill,” she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 20, 2011.

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