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National

What Catholic vote? No need to fear what's not real, Edcel Lagman tells pro-RH politicians

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman on Monday said Reproductive Health (RH) advocates seeking election next year should not fear any backlash from the Catholic vote because it has "no empirical basis."

"Fear has always been used by the clergy as an instrument of repression and reprisal like fear of eternal damnation, fear of excommunication, fear of offending religious minsters, fear of contraceptives as abortifacients and carcinogenic, and fear of a demographic winter," Lagman said in a statement.

The veteran lawmaker added that "fear is bankrupt of reason and shouldnot be allowed to deter legislation and policy making."

Over the weekend, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, vice chairman ofthe Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic BishopsConference of the Philippines (CBCP) warned elective officials not to ignore the Catholic vote because, he said, it remains a force to reckon with.

Lagman countered that if there is such a thing as a Catholic vote, it would be supportive of a Reproductive Health Law.

Lagman insisted that 71 percent of Catholics favor the enactment of the RH bill, quoting the "Third Quarter 2008 Social Weather Survey". The same survey, he said, reveals that the percentage of those in favor of the bill is even higher among weekly church-going Catholics at 73 percent.

The same SWS survey suggests that among registered voters, 38 percent would supposedly support pro-RH candidates. Only six percent said they will not vote for candidates supportive of the measure, Lagman said. At the least, he added, among those surveyed, 20 percent said that a candidate’s stand on the issue will not affect their votes.

The congressman said that in predominantly Catholic communities like Cebu, Manila, and Paranaque, respondents in various surveys are overwhelmingly pro-RH. Again citing SWS surveys conducted in 2009, he noted that up to 76 percent of voters in Cebu support the measure. in Parañaque, 84 percent of the respondents were found in favor of the proposed law. In Manila, the pro-RH sector supposedly stood at 86 percent.

Pulse Asia reports that 93 percent of Filipinos would like the ability to plan their families; 82 percent believe government should inform couples about all methods of family planning.

Finally, Lagman noted that even faculty members of leading Catholic Universities like Ateneo and De La Salle Universities support the passage of the RH bill. 

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