May 23, 2011

Philippine authorities warned Catholics that they would be charged for back taxes if they withheld tax payments to protest provisions of the reproductive health bill pending in the country's legislature.

Authorities also urged groups opposed to the controversial bill to dissociate themselves from civil disobedience.

Catholic leaders, including the Philippine bishops' conference, are opposed to the bill, which would mandate that artificial contraceptives be made available.

Bishop Deogracias Iniguez Jr. of Kalookan said that while the Church is not advocating civil disobedience "for now," Catholics are obliged not to follow any law that violates their faith.

"Eventually if the measure becomes law, Catholics will not obey it," said Iniguez, head of the bishops' public affairs commission.