Evangelical churches declare support for RH bill

By Atom Araullo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2011 04:46 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2011 06:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) today expressed their support for the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill that is currently being discussed in congress.

The PCEC describes itself as the largest network of evangelical denominations, churches, mission groups, and para-church organizations nationwide.

PCEC President Bishop Efraim Tendero said they are encouraging lawmakers to pass the RH bill which they believe is "pro-life, pro-poor, and pro-development."

"There is nothing immoral with the RH Bill, and we would not support it if it were not consistent with the teachings of the bible," said Tendero.

Tendero believes that the bill will help bring down maternal and infant mortality rates and will also curb the ballooning population in the country.

The Catholic Church on the other hand have been vigorous opponents of the RH Bill which they described as "immoral."

PCEC clarifies that like the Catholic Church, they believe in the sanctity of human life. However, since they believe that life begins with the fertilization of an egg by a spermcell, no life is being terminated or aborted by using contraceptives.

"Hindi porket pwedeng abusuhin (ang RH bill), hindi na ito dapat gawin," said Bishop Ellie Mercado. "Ang free will nga na ibinigay ng Diyos pwede rin abusuhin, pero hindi niya binabawi sa atin."

Bishop Jonel Milan said their group is committed to helping administer "age-appropriate sex education" in schools.

Bishop Fred Magbanua advised lawmakers to remain circumspect despite the strong opinion of the Catholic Church on the issue.

"Dapat manindigan sila sa ikabubuti ng mamamayan," he said.