Duterte softens stance on family planning

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte said his proposed three-child policy is only a suggestion and won't be an imposition.

“I cannot force the people to follow. We are just suggesting that you are in good hands if you just limit the number of your children,” he said.

He spoke with reporters late Monday to clarify his statements on family planning and birth control the previous day.

He said he intends to make artificial birth control methods readily available and also plans to “re-install” family planning for couples.

He earlier said it's time to resume family planning despite the expected opposition from the Catholic church.

Watch: Duterte pushes for family planning

He told reporters on Sunday he was angered by a report that a woman had given birth to her tenth child without planning her family.

Sabi ko ibalik ko talaga ang family planning. It will do us good—walang kasamaan ‘yan. [I said I will bring back family planning. It will do us good—there’s no harm in it.] I am a Christian, but I am a realist and we have to do something about our population,” he said in a press conference on Sunday (May 22).

Amid criticism of his support of artificial birth control, Duterte didn’t hold back on his attacks against Catholic church leaders.

“Hindi nga ninyo ma-correct correct yung mga abuses ng mga pari. [You cannot even correct the abuses of some priests.] Until now you have not done anything. There’s so many things the Church has committed,” he said. 

CNN Philippines senior correspondent Ina Andolong and correspondent Triciah Terada contributed to this story.