While admitting he bears no grudge against the Catholic Church, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also said he does not agree with some of its practice which supposedly scared people to follow its doctrines using the concept of hell.

During his weekly program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” on a local channel, Duterte criticized the Church for keeping the people ignorant about family planning by refusing to accept and teach the benefits of reproductive health, but instead campaigned against it.

“You tell the children that they will go to hell. You always use that to scare them,” the mayor said. “But that is not true. Hell is here (on Earth).”

Duterte, a staunch supporter of the reproductive health, said the sight of poor families with six or seven children living in shanties has worried him because the Philippine economy seems to be not growing fast enough to address poverty by providing livelihood to these families.

A women’s group has thrown their support behind the tough-talking mayor for his advocacies, not just against criminality, but also for the welfare of Filipino women through gender development programs in Davao City.

Gabriela Representative Luzviminda Ilagan told Inquirer Duterte managed to implement reproductive health programs successfully in his constituents even before the measure became a national debate.

Ilagan added Duterte’s concern for the welfare of women and children made him an ideal candidate for the presidency in 2016.

“Davao City has done so many things. Duterte is not just that high profile but in his own quiet way he supports gender development advocacy,” the party-list representative said.

She added Duterte “is a strong leader whom the country needs, one who does not come from traditional politics and a “new face and voice but an old hand in politics.”