Duterte makes pitch for RH bill during mass wedding of 51 couples
DAVAO CITY, Philiippines — Vice mayor Rodrigo Duterte pitched for the use of pills and other contraceptives as he helped solemnize the vows of at least 51 couples married in a “Kasalang Bayan” (community wedding) at the NHA village in Maa District here on Friday.
“The Church has a different stand but as government officials, we can easily see the situation,” Duterte said.
“I’m telling you there’s no way that a jobless housewife with six to eight children living with an equally jobless husband can raise a decent family,” he told the couples who came to solemnize their vows.
“Once you reach three (children), you should stop, consider that your boundary,” he added.
Long before the raging debate over the RH Bill, Duterte said Davao City has been implementing its own version. People used to come to City Hall in droves when Duterte announced for the first time in early 2006 that he was distributing P5,000 in financial assistance to men and women willing to avail themselves of free vasectomy and ligation services in the city.
Health workers and officers later told the media the P5,000 (later reduced to P3,000) was not a cash assistance but the cost of hospital services for the operation. In the last two years, however, City Hall has totally scrapped the amount from its yearly budget as the city health office ran out of budget, said city health officer Josephine Villafuerte.
But Duterte, now the vice mayor, said he would still assist couples who would like to avail of family planning procedures.
“The cost of pills and contraceptives is so cheap, if you don’t have the money, just come to me, because I will pay for it,” Duterte told couples, most of whom have already been living with each other for years and already had a number of children.
“I am for the RH bill because it is something good for the people, I disagree with the Church,” Duterte said.
“The priests are just taking the debate personally, but when people no longer have anything to eat, they turn to public officials for help,” he said.
He admitted, however, that the men’s “macho” ego has persisted as a stumbling block to the government’s family planning program.
Health workers campaigning for the government’s family planning services said husbands have refused to allow their wives to undergo ligation, fearing they would start having affairs.
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