ARCHBISHOP Emeritus Oscar Cruz said on Sunday that President Aquino’s support for population control programs was an official admission of his administration’s inability to undertake socioeconomic programs to ease poverty.
“His government’s simplistic option and blatant decision is lessen [the number of] Filipinos to have a better Philippines,” Cruz said in a strongly worded statement issued in the midst of an escalating conflict between Malacañang and the Catholic Church as Congress debates a reproductive health (RH) bill.
“Forgotten is the once proud and loud shout ‘Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap’ (If there’s no corruption, there’s no poverty). Now the maxim sounds ‘Kung walang ipapanganak, walang mahirap’ (If no child is born, there’s no poverty),” he said.
Instead of thinking of ways to produce more food and houses for people, the government had subscribed to this idea that “the less people eat, the more food there is … the fewer people are housed, the more houses there are,” he added.
“Let there be a dedicated, not a laid-back national leadership. Let there be a wise, not a dull national government,” Cruz said.
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The government replied:
“We prefer to turn the other cheek in response to the Archbishop’s ad hominem remarks concerning the President and his administration,” Lacierda said, “because every man, including a retired prelate, is entitled to his opinion.”
“The President has been demonstrating tremendous political will in facing the issues of Responsible Parenthood, in pushing for Open Skies, and a peaceful, dignified resolution of disagreements in ASEAN,” Lacierda said, “which are all part of his comprehensive, holistic approach to achieving growth without sacrificing human dignity.”
“Domestically, President Aquino is focused on empowering the Filipino people: so each citizen can make sensible choices about their future and achieve a better future for themselves and their families,” Lacierda said.
“What is clear,” according to Lacierda, “is that we are moving forward: over 1.9 million of the poorest Filipino families have already been registered for inclusion in the Conditional Cash Transfer or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
“The President and the people must remain united as we eliminate the causes of dissatisfaction in our society. We have an unprecedented opportunity to change the conditions that have made poverty so prevalent in our society,” Lacierda added, “and the President is working to break the chains of poverty so that all Filipinos can achieve a Philippines as different in 2016 from what it was in 2010 as day is from night.”