Group counters Catholic Church ‘empty threat’-A A +A
Friday, July 27, 2012
A WOMEN’S group countered the Catholic Church’s reported move to come up with a list of candidates for next year’s elections who will fight against Reproductive Health (RH) bill.
The Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP), a national federation chaired by Elizabeth Angsioco, said it is not threatened by the announcement and, in fact, fully supports it.
“The move is good for RH champions as non-inclusion in the bishops’ list means that they favor saving mothers from dying and adolescent girls from untimely pregnancies,” the group said.
"The bishops will make our work easier. Inclusion in their list is a guarantee that a candidate is anti-RH. For women, especially those in poor communities such as our members, being anti-RH is being anti-women and anti-poor. With the bishops' list, we will no longer need to do further research on included candidates. We will simply campaign against and NOT vote for them," Angsioco said.
She said such move is just an “empty threat” from the bishops because it has been proven from past elections that the Catholic block vote is “at best, a myth.”
Angsioco recalled that the Catholic Church openly went against former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Erap Estrada, as well as former Senator Juan Flavier but all of them won the elections.
She added, “Even at the local level, priests went against champions of the RH bill but virtually all of those re-electionists won. In contrast, during the 2010 elections, anti-RH candidates at the national level who said that they had the bishops' support, and lost miserably. The Catholic church has never proven that it has a block vote unlike the Iglesia ni Cristo.”
Angsioco also said that all credible surveys done through a number of years by Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia have all proven that the Filipino people overwhelmingly support a government-funded family planning program, as well as the passage of the RH bill.
“Even Catholics support these because 81 percent to 94 percent of total respondents of these surveys identified themselves as Catholic. The fact is only Roman Catholic hierarchy and those closely allied to it that are against the RH bill,” the group said.