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Archbishop not amenable to new RH bill

MANILA, Sept. 4, 2012— A Catholic bishop rejected the touted new version of the reproductive health (RH) bill because of the Church’s uncompromising stand on artificial birth control.

Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said that even if proponents changed the name RH bill, “it’s still the same measure with the purpose of depopulation.”

“Whatever they do to that RH bill, whatever their explanation, they really want to implement it because it is being imposed on us by those who would like to eliminate us,” Arguelles said.

Proponents of the RH bill in House of Representatives are working on amendments to the measure, purportedly to address concerns of opponents including the Catholic Church.

Majority Floor Leader Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales said the amendments aims to highlight the bill as a “poverty measure” by making family planning and RH services available only to the poor.

“The amendments will state that the funds for reproductive health services such as artificial contraceptives would be allotted to the poorest of the poor because they are primarily the ones who do not have the access to these,” he said in a phone interview.

“We will turn the RH bill into a poverty measure. Promotion of contraceptives will be limited to the poorest of the poor identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development,” said Gonzales.

Archbishop Arguelles said the church is with the government in terms addressing poverty but not to the extent of spending millions of pesos on artificial birth control.

“Anti-poverty (measure) is right but you remove poverty by killing the poor. That’s not fair,” said Arguelles.

“For instance, they are saying that there are too many people but less food to eat. Take care of the farmers. Don’t deprive them of their lands that they till. Be serious about agrarian reform,” he said.

He also called on the government to put premium on education rather on condoms, pills and other contraceptives.

“Use the money for education and provide means of livelihood for adults would certainly have a lasting effect,” Arguelles said. [CBCPNews]