MANILA, Sept. 7, 2012— It’s official. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines will avoid any involvement in the technical working group (TWG) formed to discuss the reproductive health (RH) bill.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, said they would just let lawmakers in Congress to resolve the contentious issues of the population control measure.
Palma’s statement was relayed to Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, head of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, which leads the Church’s campaign against the bill.
“First, and this is also according to CBCP president Archbishop Palma, the bishops will not participate in the technical working group. The CBCP will not send any representative,” Reyes said.
According to him, the bishops will inform the anti-RH bill lawmakers the amendments that the church wants in the measure.
He said that all provisions that violate the natural moral law should be stripped off in both the Lower House and the Senate’s version of the RH bill.
“Provisions which are against the natural moral law and the law of God with the Church is also affirming should be taken out,” Reyes said.
The bishop emphasized that there is no compromise in the CBCP’s position against the RH bill.
Reyes also favored Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto that such controversial bill needs thorough discussion because the country’s future is at stake.
“They are right because its effect to the country is long-term and really bad so it should really be discussed carefully,” he said.
“This RH bill is not about giving care for women because we already have many laws about that,” added Reyes.
The House of Representatives said it is creating an informal technical working group to speed up talks on amendments.
The TWG will be composed of representatives from the executive branch, Lower House, Senate and the CBCP.
Majority Floor Leader Rep. Neptali Gonzales also said the amendments will highlight the bill as a “poverty measure” by making family planning and RH services available only to the poorest of the poor. [RL/CBCPNews]