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Population size not poverty’s cause – Malacañang

Posted By: Chris Costuya On:


MANILA, Jan. 24, 2011— Overpopulation causing poverty is not a byline of the Aquino administration, ranking government officials said.

In Monday’s continuation of the dialogue between Malacañang and the Catholic bishops, they agreed that the great challenge to development is not demographic explosion.

In a press briefing, Msgr. Juanito Figura, CBCP secretary general, said they are elated with how the dialogue is doing, which means “we are beginning to see things clearer.”

He said they were assured by Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman that the government does not tie population with economic crisis.

“Secretary Soliman herself said she does not recall any cabinet cluster meeting saying that population is the cause of poverty,” said Figura.

“Instead, she said that the main concern of the government is to ensure that parents take good care of their children.”

The CBCP official also quoted Health Secretary Enrique Ona as saying that the government’s “responsible parenthood” program has nothing to do with controlling the population.

“Secretary Ona later added that responsible parenthood supports poverty reduction… it has nothing to do with population growth or population reduction,” he said.

Proponents of the reproductive health (RH) bill have pointed the finger at the country’s growing population as a cause of underdevelopment.

The church was also assured during the dialogue that there is “no compulsion” from the government on the size of family and on the use of contraceptives and sterilization services, Figura said.

“Secretary Ona emphasized that there are no quotas on contraceptives and sterilization services imposed on health workers,” he said. “In fact, he advised that reports of instances of coercion be brought to his office directly.”

“The government panel also said they respect the religious conviction of couples in their decision regarding the size of their family and spacing in their children,” Figura added.

The CBCP official, however, said that declaring that the Aquino administration is going soft on the RH bill is still “premature.”

“We are beginning to know more of their side and they are beginning to know our side. As to where this is heading to, it’s a bit early to predict or comment on that now. But it’s helping us a lot,” he said. (CBCPNews)


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