CBCP Objects DOH's Plan To Distribute Condoms In Schools As Part Of Safe Sex Campaign

'Distributing condoms will only condone sexual activity among students.'
by F. Valencia
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In a press conference for the World AIDS Day 2016 on last December 1, Department of Health (DOH) chief Dr. Paulyn Ubial announced that they plan to distribute condoms in schools as part of their strategy to deal with the sharp rise in the number of HIV and AIDS among the youth in the country.

Citing DOH data, a Philippine Daily Inquirer report revealed that "from 1984 to October 2016, a total of 38,114 HIV cases were recorded, with 32,099 tallied from 2011 to 2016."

The report added that "among 15 to 24 years olds, there were 10,279 HIV cases during the period, of which 9,066 were tallied since 2011."

Aside from the distribution of condoms, the DOH also said that students would be given counseling. They also urged parents to "teach safe sex at home."

However, Fr. Jerome Secillano, the executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) public affairs committee, has expressed his objection to the DOH's safe sex campaign. He said referred to it as "a waste of taxpayers' money."

While Secillano recognized there is a need to address the problem, he "urged the government to use a cultural and values-based approach for HIV/AIDS prevention."

In a CBCP press release, Secillano was quoted as saying, "The government should invest more in educating people about the perils of ‘sporadic sexual activity’ than procuring and distributing condoms."

He added, "Distributing condoms will only condone sexual activity among students."

For his part, Fr. Conegundo Garganta of the CBCP’s youth ministry stressed, "The Church has to continue with its mandate to educate and form people about the dignity of every person and continue to promote understanding [of] the Theology of the Body."

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