Philippine Leader Hedges on Family Planning

MANILA, Philippines, FEB. 16, 2001 ( The government supports “family planning” but will retain a bias for methods approved by the Catholic Church, the nation´s president indicated.

Without directly calling for a ban on contraceptives, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo told the Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive Health that she preferred technology “applicable to our (Philippine) social context,” the Manila Times reported today.

While falling short of limiting family planning to Church-sanctioned methods, Macapagal-Arroyo told more delegates from the Philippines and 20 other countries: “I am glad to share that efforts have already been made to develop a more reliable natural family planning method.”

And, although she urged all local government units to “support population and RH initiatives,” the president stressed the need to “preserve the religious and cultural values that motivated us to launch People Power I and II.”

The conference faced protests from groups like the Kababaihan ng Maynila, which denounces RH initiatives as akin to abortion.