With an estimated population of about 92 million people, the Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country. It is estimated that there are an additional 11 million overseas Filipinos worldwide.
It is also 80-85% Roman Catholic.
Legislators there have been trying to formulate a family planning policy for eight years, but the Catlick Church keeps stamping its tiny feet and thwarting all efforts.
The Philippines’ population growth rate of 1.90 percent from 2005 to 2010 is still among the highest in East Asia, although this has gone down from 2.3 percent in the nineties. In a country that has no clear policy on family planning and population, more than 4,000 babies are added to its population every day.
In poorer areas, women have as many as six to seven children due to the lack of access and information to modern methods of family planning in the last decade. Depending on which government was in power, local clinics were giving out information about contraception that included condoms or were instructed to avoid doing so.
Incumbent President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who came to power with the backing of the Church, has consistently emphasised natural family planning – including abstinence –and "responsible parenthood" over modern methods.
(She herself has just two children.)
In May they're having a presidential election. There are nine candidates, only three of whom 'seem' to be in favour of a reproductive health policy, according to that article, 'based on their track records and public pronouncements'. (The article is silent on whether the others are opposed or just too intimidated to say.)
In late 2009, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) warned the electorate not to vote for candidates who favour the reproductive health bill. "It would not be morally permissible to vote for candidates who support anti-family policies, including reproductive health," said the CBCP's Catechism on Family and Life for the 2010 Elections.
So, that seems to be it. The Catlick Church will continue to oppose rational measures to control population growth and the Philippines will continue to export its people overseas to work and send dough home.
Oh. Wait. Looky here.
Seven in 10 Filipinos would defy the powerful Roman Catholic church and elect a president who supported the use of condoms and pills for birth control, according to survey released Friday.
Heavily Catlick countries around the world -- Spain, Portugal, Mexico, to mention a few -- are crawling out from centuries of the church's vicious misogyny, homophobia, and general opposition to sex and freedom. We hope the politicians of the Philippines are listening to their people.