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Duterte Ready to Clash With Catholic Church on Birth Control

FILE - Philippines' president-elect Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a press conference in Davao.

The Philippine president-elect says he will aggressively promote artificial birth control in the country even at the risk of getting in a fight with the dominant Catholic church, which staunchly opposes the use of contraceptives.

Duterte said Monday that having many children has driven families deeper into poverty, and he reiterated his recommendation for Filipinos to have three at most.

Duterte jokingly threatened to have penises of defiant men chopped off and cited his family planning program as a longtime mayor in southern Davao city, where he has offered cash rewards to villagers who volunteer to undergo free vasectomy or ligation.

Many politicians have tried to avoid colliding with influential Catholic bishops in the Philippines by taking a vague position or not aggressively pushing the use of contraceptives.