Population Control in the Philippines
Wrangle Over New Legislation Rolls on After Election
by SIMON ROUGHNEEN, REGISTER CORRESPONDENT 05/17/2010
MANILA — It is 6pm in Greenbelt, one of Manila’s high-end shopping malls. Elsewhere, commuters are stopping off for an after-work coffee or browsing through the array of boutiques next door to the chapel. But right in the middle of the mall, a dome-shaped, partially open church is packed for evening Mass — one of four celebrated there each day. Passers-by genuflect or bless themselves, laying down their shopping as they pause on their way.
Out of 92 million people, 85% of Filipinos (78.2 million) are Catholic, and the country is well known for eye-catching displays of public devotion. During the election season, daily vigils and prayer services were held all over the country. Inside the election commission headquarters, statues of the Virgin Mary and posters exhorting the recitation of novenas sat between nuts-and-bolts election information for parties, voters, candidates and media.
An ongoing battle over a “reproductive health” bill looks set to roll on into the new administration. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the son of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino and the apparent victor in the race, opposes the Church’s position on the bill. After Corazon Aquino died last August, a national catharsis pushed her low-profile son Noynoy into the spotlight. Attempting to discern what to do, he went on retreat in a Carmelite monastery before settling on a presidential run.
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