1) The armed conflict in the countryside that has caused the loss of so many lives and the need to support the ongoing peace process between the government and the revolutionary groups (e.g. NDF and MILF)
(2) The destruction of the environment and the threat to the way of life and cultures of the indigenous peoples – due to mining and logging.
(3) The extra-judicial killings carried out by death squads, allegedly inspired or abetted by some local government officials and police personnel in many cities in the Philippines.
(4) The RH bill being debated in congress which promotes an aggressive population control program which is based on a questionable if not false assumptions that there is a crisis of overpopulation which perpetuates poverty and is a hindrance to sustainable economic development.
The portion regarding the RH bill reads as follows:
I know that you feel strongly about passing a bill on Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health. I am grateful that you have not treated it as a priority bill as you still want to engage in dialogue with the Catholic Church. It seems to me that you have taken the side of those pushing for the RH bill in Congress and shares their viewpoint on why this bill is urgent. What is the logic behind this bill? That there is a crisis of population explosion which perpetuates the poverty of our people and a hindrance to economic development. Therefore, an aggressive population control program is necessary which includes promoting contraception and sex education. What is the message your are promoting? Walang mahirap kung konti lang ang bata. Para sa ikaaunlad ng bayan, contraception at sex education ang kailangan. You know very well that the cause of poverty is not overpopulation and it is even questionable whether we are facing a crisis of overpopulation. The population growth rate and total fertility rate have gone down and continues to go down. The crisis that the world is facing is the demographic winter – an aging population, with less young people. This is why other countries need our OFWs. It would be better if you focus on poverty-alleviation, quality education for all, and universal health program (not just reproductive health). I agree with you that we need to promote Responsible Parenthood which includes sex-education taught within the context of religious and cultural values but it cannot be legislated and funded by billions coming from our taxes.
The Catholic Church is not a hindrance to progress and development. The Church is not your enemy. You don’t have to worry about the threat of excommunication from the CBCP – which was a false report. Please consider the Church as a partner for the achievement of common good, for poverty-alleviation, for justice and peace, and for the defense of life and the environment. When the Church criticizes the policies and behavior of those in government it is always in line with her prophetic mission and in defense of the values of life, peace and justice. Your late mother and father (whose memory I too venerate) appreciated the historic contribution of the Church in transforming society. It would be sad and a great disservice to our people if the remaining years of your presidency is spent in an adversarial and conflictive relationship with the Catholic Church.
As a young man, I fought against a dictator and I was tortured and imprisoned for seven months. Soon I will be a senior citizen and I don’t want to spend it fighting against a government and a president whose candidacy I fully supported and whose anti-corruption and peace program I continue to support.