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Philippine bishops daunted by new top appointments

New Congress heads will hasten "anti-life" laws, they fear reporter, Manila

July 22, 2013

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Church leaders  said today that they expect the fight against what they call "anti-life bills" to be doubly hard with the election of new leaders of Congress.

A new Senate president and Speaker of the House were elected by Senate legislators this morning. Both are perceived as allies of President Benigno Aquino, who was been an energetic advocate of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.

Monsignor Joselito Asis, secretary-general of the bishops’ conference, said the election of Senate president Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte will assure the passage of pro-administration legislation.

"The fight continues. We will favor the passage of pro-poor bills, but not divorce," said Asis.

He added that Church leaders are banking on the help of legislators who signed a covenant before last May's election to support the fight against "anti-life" bills. 

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, president of the bishops’ conference, also lamented Aquino’s support for the RH Law. "Is the RH Law the solution to poverty? How long will we believe that if we lessen the population, the lives of many will be improved?"

Speaking today in advance of the president’s ‘state of the nation’ address, he added that the government still has not done enough to tackle poverty.

“Development does not only mean gross and profit, especially if the poor is not feeling it. We ask, does it cascade down to the poor?" he said.

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