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imns



Food crisis linked to stubborn Church pressure


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:35:00 04/18/2008

Filed Under: Family planning, Population, rice problem, Food, Churches (organisations)

Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iiguez (?Gov?t, clergy need to discuss population, food?prelate,? Inquirer, 4/3/08) shot at the heart of one of the biggest reasons this country now finds itself in a rice crisis?the government?s stubborn stand against population management and family planning because of pressure from the Catholic Church.

No matter how the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration tries to divert public attention from the rapid population growth, the issue will continue to hound it. As pointed out by very outspoken bishops, it should be OK if families have a large number of children. However, it becomes a problem when the parents do not want many children because they do not have enough resources to cover the basic needs of each child, such as food. This is proven in the consistent survey results conducted by the National Statistics Office and other reputable institutions.

Sadly, President Arroyo, who is a self-proclaimed economic genius, does not seem to fathom the link between development and population growth?a concept that does not exactly require an economics degree from Georgetown University. She incessantly bows down to the dictates of the bishops who think that teaching couples to use contraceptives is a grave sin. The government is accountable to all the people and not only to the few but arrogant bishops who act as if they have influence over the voting population and, therefore, they have the right to bully government officials to agree to whatever position they adopt on a particular issue.

The rice crisis should serve as an eye-opener to the Arroyo administration: pleasing so many ?influential? people, including the Catholic hierarchy, is not worth it. Nothing actually is, when it jeopardizes the welfare of Filipinos.

Ms Arroyo should realize that, in the end, the bishops who have been pressuring her to take a conservative stand on the population issue do not hold the key to this country?s economic development.

ETHEL N. MENDIOLA, advocacy officer, Philippine Legislators? Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD); VIRGINIA F. BENOSA, media relations officer, Philippine Legislators? Committee on Population and Development Foundation Inc.



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