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CNN pushes president to open contraceptive markets wider

MANILA (Mabuhay) : A parachute drop into Manila by a reporter from the United States of America (US)-based Cable News Network (CNN), Anna Coren, produced a free-flowing and generally positive report on the economic prospects of The Philippines.

While she spoke highly about predictions of economic success forecast by no less an agency than Goldman Sachs, projecting that the Pearl of the Orient Seas will become the 11th biggest economy in Asia by 2050, critics noted that the contradiction in her report came in the area of contraception.

This prediction is based on what is referred to as the Philippine population sweet spot, as it will have the largest working age population in Asia.

Ignoring what is believed to be the greatest economic asset of the country, its people, she blandly informed the president, Noynoy Aquino, that lack of contraception was the root cause of the widespread poverty in the country.

She dismissed Aquino’s opinion that lack of well-paying jobs and infrastructure to empower people with viable skills may be a bigger contributing factor, running the line of the US pharmaceutical industry, which has invested millions of dollars in developing a big contraceptive market in The Philippines.

“One of the big reasons that there is poverty in this country is the lack of contraception, the fact that contraception is not allowed, and the Church at the end of the day in responsible for this,” the 37-year-old Australian-born reporter pontificated.

“The Church frowns on contraception,” Coren ploughed on. “Oooh, some people would say that the Church has way too much power.”

While Aquino countered that although the Church does have significant influence, he stressed that it does not make the laws, and pushed his own line of responsible parenthood.

However, Coren showed little sign that she believed that Filipinos could make responsible decisions about anything and continued down her line of development, US-style.

“Our take on that is that the state is required to remind all of our countrymen, those contemplating marriage, that they have responsibilities for the child they are bringing in. As to what methods they will choose that is left to their decision,” the president told Coren.

She then asked why the responsible parenthood bill had not yet passed in the congress and Aquino replied that he believes that the house is a microcosm of our society, which reflects its conservative elements.

Coren shot back, “But if contraception was readily available and it was acceptable in society, do you not think then that the growth rate you are experiencing, two per cent, won’t be reduced?”

Aquino informed her that he didn’t need convincing on family planning, but added that economic growth itself would be a natural factor in limiting population growth. 

He also pointed out that contraceptives are available in the country and are free for those who cannot afford them.

CBCP News reported that the president did not respond to her final dig when she asked if he thought it is time for the Catholic Church to change its views.