President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday took an apparent swipe at the Catholic Church for its "creeping influence" over Filipinos on the issue of family planning.
Speaking at the 31st anniversary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Quezon City, Duterte took exception to faith-based objections to his policy favoring artificial family planning.
"I would not mention the faith because again I would not want to quarrel with them. Wala ka man makuha dito sa mga g***** ‘to puro salita lang," he said.
"I do not like itong creeping influence of faith that they sometimes run counter to what government believes to be good for the people. At least in this temporal life," he added.
Duterte, a Catholic, has made reproductive health a priority in his administration, convinced that giving people the means to limit or space births will help sustain economic growth.
In January last year, Duterte issued an executive order directing agencies to fund and enforce the government's family planning program to ensure free access to birth control, which is stipulated under the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.
It became effective in 2014 after the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality except for some provisions in the law and its implementing rules and regulations that violate religious freedom and integrity of marriage.
Duterte's remarks came days before his dialogue with Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines president Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles on July 9.
The meeting was set as the government tries to mend ties with the Church and other Christian groups offended by Duterte’s remarks against God and Christianity. — MDM, GMA News