MANILA, Philippines - The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on Friday said it will not join a technical working group (TWG) formed by Congress to discuss the reproductive health (RH) bill.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, said they would just let lawmakers in Congress resolve the contentious issues of the population control measure, a report on the CBCPNews website said.
Palma’s statement was relayed to Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, head of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, which leads the Church’s campaign against the bill.
“First, and this is also according to CBCP president Archbishop Palma, the bishops will not participate in the technical working group. The CBCP will not send any representative,” Reyes said.
He said the CBCP will just inform anti-RH bill lawmakers the amendments that the church wants in the measure.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. earlier agreed to a proposal of a known anti-RH lawmaker, Parañaque City Rep. Roilo Golez, that the House of Representatives form a technical working group to hammer out the RH bill.
The panel is supposed to be composed mostly of moderates, including representatives from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
In the CBCPNews report, Reyes said all provisions that violate the natural moral law should be stripped off in both the Lower House and the Senate’s version of the RH bill.
“Provisions which are against the natural moral law and the law of God with the Church is also affirming should be taken out,” he said.
The bishop emphasized that there is no compromise in the CBCP’s position against the RH bill.
Reyes also favored Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto that such controversial bill needs thorough discussion because the country’s future is at stake.
“They are right because its effect to the country is long-term and really bad so it should really be discussed carefully,” he said.
“This RH bill is not about giving care for women because we already have many laws about that,” added Reyes.