The Straits Times
Published on Dec 29, 2012

Philippines seeks unity after birth control law signed


MANIL (AFP) - President Benigno Aquino's government called for reconciliation on Saturday after a "divisive" birth control act was signed into law despite bitter opposition from the influential Catholic church.

Making sex education and contraceptives more widely available to the poor, the landmark legislation takes effect in mid-January, Mr Aquino's spokeswoman Abigail Valte said.

"The passage into law of the Responsible Parenthood Act closes a highly divisive chapter of our history - a chapter borne of the convictions of those who argued for, or against this Act," she said in a statement.

"At the same time, it opens the possibility of cooperation and reconciliation ... engagement and dialogue characterised not by animosity, but by our collective desire to better the welfare of the Filipino people."