Aquino open to dialogue with bishops

President Benigno S. Aquino III is more than willing to sit down with the Catholic clergy if they want to hear his position on the controversial Reproductive Health Bill being pushed in Congress.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in an interview that sitting down with the church leaders is the best way for the President to explain his responsible parenthood position on family planning.

In his meeting with Filipino expatriates in San Francisco during his US visit, the President explained that the obligation of the government on family planning is to inform everybody of their responsibilities, and provide assistance to a particular method they want to employ for their family.

On the US grant of a $434 billion (P19 billion) financial assistance to the Philippines, Lacierda assured the Catholic leadership that the money will be spent wisely particularly on the administration’s anti-poverty program such as the Kalahi CIDSS, and strengthening the anti-corruption effort of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Lacierda issued the assurance in response to the allegation of Fr. Melvin Castro, executive director of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, that the President is “selling out the Filipino soul” in exchange for the US grant.

He stressed that such statement is unfair and below the belt because the grant has been approved by the US government and released only to President Aquino after he met the guidelines set by the United Nations Millennium development goals. (PCOO/PIA)

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