Manny Pacquiao (second right) joins Catholic bishops in a press conference
World boxing champion and congress member, Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquaio
, has joined Catholic bishops in the fight against the proposed reproductive health (RH) bill
However, he said he opposes calls from several bishops for civil disobedience in the event the bill becomes law.
Pacquiao, who had lunch with the bishops in Manila today, said the government will end up the biggest loser if Catholics decide not to pay their taxes.
A week ago, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa
had called for an “all-out war” against the measure after the Catholic Bishops Conference pulled out of talks with government officials, prompting the authorities to warn that Catholics will be charged if they do not to pay taxes in protest against the bill.
"If we do not pay taxes, the government will suffer. So let us pay our taxes," Pacquaio said.
He said although he personally opposes the RH bill, he does not have a problem with President Benigno Aquino nor with how he is running the country.
"Just because I am against the RH bill does not mean I am against him or his administration," Pacquiao stated.
Meanwhile, the Catholic bishops conference distanced itself from calls for civil disobedience.
Conference president Bishop Nereo Odchimar
said there is no official position on calls for civil disobedience.
"If there are voices advocating civil disobedience, [they] did not come from a collective decision of the conference," the bishop said.
Bishop Odchimar said that even if the bill is passed into law, the Church will continue to speak against it. "We will not use it as an excuse to stop our advocacy," he said.
"There are issues that are non-negotiable. We have the teachings of the Church to follow, [and human values] to uphold," he added.