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Palma slams condom distribution in schools

By: Inna Mejia, Izobelle T. Pulgo December 06,2016 - 11:20 PM



CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma criticized the Department of Health’s initiative to distribute condoms in schools to combat the rise of HIV and AIDS among Filipino teenagers.

The 66-year-old prelate said giving condoms will never address the problem and will just promote promiscuity.

“This approach sends a wrong impression that it’s okay to do anything as along as you have condom. But that should not be the case,” he said in an interview yesterday.

Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale echoed the same sentiments, saying making condoms accessible to the youth would encourage promiscuity.

“No (di ko uyon),” she said. “I am worried it will encourage promiscuity. I hope dili na madayon.”

Magpale said school-aged youth are at their most curious stage, and the distribution of condoms could be misinterpreted as to giving them the “freedom” and the choice whether or not to engage in premarital sex.

Palma advised the government to thoroughly analyze the situation and find lasting and effective solutions to the problem.

“HIV is a reality. But we ask the implementers in government to find out what really are the right approaches to the issue. To me, the best approach is discipline,” he said.

DOH’s concern

But Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said the health of the people is the primary concern of DOH.

“I am against promiscuity. I am against having sex without getting married. But you know, that is not the job of DOH,” he said.

With the opposition of the Catholic community, Osmeña said that it is not the duty of DOH to enforce the law of God.

He added that if there is a risk of spreading HIV, the DOH is responsible to find ways to contain the problem.

“The church has no right to let the DOH serve as a disciple or an apostle of promoting its principles,” Osmeña said.

HIV or the human immunodeficiency virus is usually transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse and transfusion of contaminated blood.

There has been an alarming rise of HIV cases in teenagers and young adults aged 15 to 24, and Cebu has the third highest incidents of HIV in the country.

As an example, Osmeña said that the City Health Department (CHD) is given the job of convincing all sex workers to undergo medical checkups.

He said the CHD personnel are not concerned about the legality or illegality of prostitution.

“They are concerned that the HIV and STD will not spread. That is fine with me. That is their only job. They don’t tell it to the police. They are not allowed to because they (sex workers) will not go there anymore for their checkups,” Osmeña said.

Palma, who recently attended the Federation of Asian Bishops’ meeting in Colombo, said the Catholic Church is looking at strengthening ministries for families where values are taught and nurtured.

“The big issue here is what should we do to address poverty, curb corruption and to make families feel united,” he said.

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TAGS: Agnes Magpale, Cebu, Cebu City, DOH, Palma, sex, students, Tomas Osmeña

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