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Two-child policy raised in Philippines

MANILA, July 28 (Xinhuanet) -- The Philippine government should adopt a two-child policy to address the population problem, a senior lawmaker said Wednesday. House Speaker Jose de Venecia said in a radio interview that he will personally propose a two-child policy for the government to address the overpopulation problem. "Our resources can only afford a small population and the two-child policy is part of my strategy to save the nation because over population will kill the nation," de Venecia told radio dzMM. He said that he would urge parents to have two children or fewer through a system of incentives and disincentives. But, the speaker did not elaborate on neither the incentive package for couples who would limit their children to two nor any punishments for parents who have more than two children. However, the population problem was not included when PresidentGloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivered her State of the Nation Address on Monday in Manila, which born her strong determination to eradicate poverty by 2010 through a series of executive and legislative packages covering job creation and economic growth, anti-corruption and good governance, social justice and basic needs, education improvement and youth opportunity and energy independence and savings. Official statistics showed that the Philippine population, which is estimated at 84 million currently, is still growing annually at a rate of 2.36 percent, the highest in Asia, and is expected to hit 97 million by 2010. Experts warned that a massive population burden will undermine the country's effort to rebuild the national economy, especially discourage Arroyo's pledge to create six million to 10 million jobs during her six-year presidency. However, the Roman Catholic Church, whose believers account for70 percent of Filipinos, has been opposing any artificial means ofbirth control. Arroyo, a staunch Catholic, earlier said that the government supports family planning and birth control in the country but implementation has been left to local governments. Enditem

Philippine Bishop Opposes Proposed Two-Child Policy

Denies That Numerous Families Cause Poverty

MANILA, Philippines, AUG. 27, 2004 ( The president of the Philippine bishops conference said the proposed two-child law presented last week in parliament is a "coercive system against couples."

"The Church appeals to the government to eradicate corruption and poverty before attacking the sanctity of each family with the control of births," said Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao in a statement as reported by AsiaNews.

“The two-child law is not necessary, it is prejudicial and it is not practicable," asserted the archbishop on Friday.

The controversial bill, submitted by Congressman Edcel Lagman to the parliament last week is called the "Reproductive Health Act." The bill is intended to curb the Philippines growth rate of 2.36 percent per year, the highest in the world.

The bill is written to encourage birth control by giving families financial incentives if they limit the number of their children to two. The incentive package includes tax advantages, preference in the granting of scholarships at the tertiary level and a number of discounts.

Under the bill, "the state shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive policy on reproductive health in connection with sustainable human development and effective population management."

The bill encourages "the limitation of the number of children to an affordable level of two children per family ... to attain the desired population growth rate."

Far from having its origin in the high number of births;a "simplistic" thesis"the reasons for the poverty of so many Filipinos are others: governmental corruption, lack of quality of educational and health services, unjust and unbalanced distribution of land and natural resources, high unemployment and the great burden of the external debt," said Archbishop Capalla.

"The Church is ready to work with the government to combat the roots of poverty and to ensure the authentic development of the people, and not to bring down the people for the purpose of development," the statement continued.

"The two-child law is a veiled coercive system that destroys the freedom of conscience and natural right of couples to choose the number of children," the prelate specified.

Moreover, "the two-child law spreads the mentality of contraception and abortion that is in opposition to the culture of life."

Attorney Jo Imbong, executive secretary of the legal office of the Philippine bishops conference, had said earlier that the bill "defies the state's constitutional mandate to value and protect the institution of marriage, strengthen the family and foster its solidarity and full development."

In Imbong's opinion, in addition to being "an offense for the rights of the family," the proposed bill "violates the spouses' right to religious belief, which does not only mean the freedom to believe but also includes the freedom to act on one's belief."


15 September, 2004


No to contraceptives for birth control, says Archbishop Cruz

Manila (AsiaNews); Contraceptives are a first step towards killing the unborn and are instruments that favour abortion, this according to Mgr Oscar Cruz, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan.

The Archbishops intervention comes in the midst of a national debate over a birth control bill. Supporters of family planning consider contraceptives a means for population control. Archbishop Cruz argues instead that the more contraceptives are used, the more abortions are done.This, he maintains, has been demonstrated in countries where population control has been successful.To abhor the birth of children, to use contraceptives to avoid having children or unwanted pregnancies, this is the tripod of abortion,Archbishop Cruz said.This is the launching pad for murdering the unborn.

Family planning supporters argue that contraceptives can prevent unwanted pregnancies and possibly abortion For Archbishop Cruz,the opposite is however true. Contraceptives are the instruments of abortion&. By way of proof, the prelate cites;the National Security Memorandum No. 200 of the U.S. government [which] is candid enough to mention contraceptives and abortion in one breath,he said. The reason is self-evident, namely the two options form but one composite whole. Those who conceived and wrote the memorandum,Archbishop Cruz pointed out,;were wise enough to know that one usually leads to the other: when contraceptives fail, abortion is the recourse.

In the last few months, the issue of population increase has generated much debate in the Philippines. Congressman Edcel Lagman has introduced a bill in Congress;the Reproductive Health Act also known as the ‘two-child policy. If adopted, the law would promote population control by encouraging couples to have no more than two children. It would also provide tax incentives to companies manufacturing contraceptive devices and to families that would adhere to it.

The Philippines& Catholic Church has come out against the two-child law arguing that it is a veiled attempt at coercion & against families& freedom of conscience. Archbishop Cruz and the entire Filipino Church maintain that the countrys poverty does not lie in the increase of its population as the two-child policy implies; poverty is the result of mismanagement of the national economy.

Proponents of the two-child policy also believe that population increase contributes to the rising crime rate and environmental degradation. However, rising crime is more likely the result of inadequate law enforcement whilst environmental problems stem from insufficient commitment to environmental protection.

Population control advocates may have good intentions. Those proposing the ready and easy access to contraceptives could have honest motives,Archbishop Cruz said. But,intentions and motives cannot overturn the truth and argue against facts.(SE)

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