28 June 2016

Stopped Clock, Philippines Edition

Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines Donald Trump is due to be sworn in in a few days.

Today, he told the Catholic Church to STFU about birth control:
The Philippines' tough-guy president-elect is turning his bare-knuckles campaign tactics on a potent adversary: the Roman Catholic Church and its opposition to artificial birth control.

Rodrigo Duterte, who takes office Thursday, is known for never mincing words or shying from a fight. He has threatened, presumably in jest, to chop off the penises of men who resist his proposals for wide-scale vasectomies, according to a report by the Associated Press on Monday. And he is on record as cursing the pope after a papal visit to the Philippines caused massive traffic jams in Manila.

But despite his famously vulgar utterances, Duterte appears to be dead serious about his crusade to lower the birthrate in his impoverished and fast-growing country of 102 million, where the majority-Catholic population has increased by 10 million in six years. The Philippines' birthrate of 2.9 children per family is much lower than in many African countries, where some average more than six children per family, but it is much higher than in Europe and in other Asian countries, including Japan and South Korea, which average 1.4 and 1.2 average births per family, respectively.

"I will reinstall the program of family planning. Three is enough," Duterte said Monday in a speech in Davao City, where he has governed as mayor or vice mayor for 22 years and where he instituted an ambitious policy of birth control and sterilization.

On Sunday, speaking on his weekly TV show from Davao, Duterte accused the church of keeping the public "in total ignorance" about birth control and frightening Catholics into submission. “You tell the children that they will go to hell. You always use that to scare them. But that is not true. Hell is here,” he told the audience, according to the website Politiko. Roman Catholic officials in the Philippines have opposed artificial birth control and advocate only natural family-planning methods.
This guy does appear to be a bit of a nut job, but he's right on this issue.


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