Friday, October 1, 2010

Aquino stands vague in his population planning policy

Aquino stands firm in his population planning policy

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) -- President Benigno Aquino III said today he is to stand firm in his population management policy, which respects all family planning methods including artificial contraception, despite the threat of possible excommunication by the head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Mr. Aquino was reacting to the statement of CBCP President Bishop Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, Surigao del Sur, that the Catholic Church would excommunicate him if he allows the government to provide artificial contraceptives to poor couples who opt for them as a family planning method.

"We are all guided by our consciences. My position has not changed. The state's duty is to educate our families as to their responsibilities and to respect their decisions if they are in conformity to our laws," the president said in a text message forwarded to reporters by Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

The title of the article should have been "Aquino stands vague in his population planning policy".

There is simply too much wiggle room in this policy statement that a herd of elephants can easily pass through.

No one has any issue with a general policy declaring "the state's duty to educate familes as to their responsibilities". As far as I know, this policy is nothing new and has been held by all administrations since President Emilio Aguinaldo III. "Respect their decision if they are in conformity to our laws", certainly. Again, all democratic countries do that. So what is there to argue with this policy statement? None.

As to artificial contraception, admittedly it is legal in the Philippines, as long as such is medically certified by the Food and Drug Administration. So technically speaking from a secular point of view, there is nothing wrong with Aquino's stated population management policy - "which respects all family planning methods including artificial contraception". Theologically speaking however, there is a lot wrong with his personal stand, considering he is an avowed practising Catholic.

His policy however, does not admit as to whether he would obligate public money to fund distribution of free contraceptives and if so, how much. There, we have an issue. The policy also does not make any stand on the so-called "abortifacients". That is another fundamental issue. The policy does not say if the plan to educate families includes mandating sex education in all schools starting elementary. There we have another issue. It does not say whether the policy of respecting all family planning methods also includes respecting the right of medical practitioners to refuse to cooperate in endorsing contraceptives. Aquino did say we are all guided by our consciences, but again, he didn't say anything when one's conscience conflicts with another. That is another issue. It is very difficult to understand President Aquino's population management policy. That is the biggest issue.


Arnel B. Endrinal said...

The stand of Pres. Aquino (or the lack of it actually) remained the same from the time of the campaign. Meanwhile of course, the stand of the Catholic Church did not change. However, out from nowhere, the news (rather the non-news) is all over, the Inquirer first and then the rest.

Hmmm.. looks to me like some squid tactics going on. Question is: for what?

WillyJ said...


Yes, Pres. Aquino is neither here nor there, even as he strives to project a firm stand on the RH issue. Ayaw tumaya eh. I wonder why. During the campaign, he said that he objects to certain provisions in the proposed RH bill, but refuses to elaborate up to now. His latest statement made the pro-RH bill camp want to party all night, but of course it is a very premature celebration. He keeps on saying that he is for responsible parenthood, but then everyone agrees with that in principle anyway. As for the Inquirer, I commend it for doing a good job in selling its paper.