The Philippines is the 12th most populated country in the world, with 80% of that population identified as Catholic. Though there is a separation of church and state, the constitution of the Philippines reflects the morals and ideals of its people. A recent interview with Hilario Davide, who helped draft the Philippines’ constitution, shows how the constitution not only protects the free exercise of the Christian faith, but allows it to thrive. An example of this is that the Philippines is the only nation, other than the Vatican, to prohibit divorce.
Our constitution prohibits divorce and abortion. We are anti-divorce, anti-abortion; we are pro-life, pro-family and pro-marriage under the constitution. The right to life of the unborn from the moment of conception is in the Bill of Rights. But, unfortunately, at one time, the Philippine legislature enacted a bill providing for the implementation of the death penalty for some heinous crimes; but it was repealed much later because it reflected badly on the Philippines, especially among the Catholics.
It is this faithfulness that Davide sees as the source of hope for his nation, despite the fact that many consider the Philippines poor and overpopulated.
I am very hopeful for the Philippines and her people. In a recent survey by the University of Chicago, it was demonstrated that, of all the peoples of the world, the Philippines has the greatest level of belief in God. The people’s faith in divine Providence has sustained them, in time of calamity, in time of adversity. So you can see the Filipino people as the most “smiling” in the world. … Even with rising population, this is no problem in my view. We will have more workers, more people and families to work for the greater glory of God.
Read the full interview in the National Catholic Register here.