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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

63% favor Reproductive Health Bill—poll

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 18:08:00 01/19/2009

MANILA, Philippines — Sixty-three percent of Filipinos favor the Reproductive Health Bill that is being deliberated on in the House of Representatives that proposes more funding for a government campaign to promote natural and artificial family planning and which the Catholic Church opposes, results of an independent survey showed.

Only eight percent said they were not in favor of the Reproductive Health Bill at the House and 29 percent were ambivalent on the matter, according to a Pulse Asia Inc. survey of 1,200 adults nationwide on Oct. 14-27.

About 82 percent of the survey respondents said they believed the government should educate couples on modern family planning methods, both natural and artificial, Pulse Asia said.

The survey showed 68 percent were aware of the Reproductive Health Bill and 32 percent were not.

The 63 percent that said they favored the bill included respondents unaware of it, Pulse Asia said.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has adopted the stand of the Catholic Church on artificial family planning.

Her deputy spokesperson, Lorelei Fajardo, told reporters in Malacañang: “The President has always been open to all the suggestions, especially to the sentiments of the public. But as of now, we know her stand on the RH Bill. I'm sure she would consider all of this."

The survey showed 93 percent of Filipinos said it was important for couples to have the ability to plan their families for their own sake and practically no one said it was unimportant. Another 91 percent said family planning was important for the sale of the country.

Forty-nine percent said they would follow what their religion told them on family planning while 44 percent were ambivalent on the matter, according to the survey.

Another 44 percent said the government should pass a law specifying the number of children that a couple can have.