CHURCH leaders are supporting the campaign of the Department of Health (DOH) against irresponsible sex but not the distribution of condoms in public schools, saying it will only worsen rather than solve the rising number of HIV/AIDS cases among the youth.
Data show that from 1984 to October 2016, about 10,279 of the total number of 38,114 HIV/AIDS cases were in the 15-24 years-old range.
Among 15 to 24 years olds, there were 10,279 HIV cases during the period, of which 9,066 were tallied during the last five years or from 2011 to 2016, prompting the government to tag it a “youth epidemic.”
To address the problem, the DOH is toying with the idea of making condoms available in public schools starting in 2017.
But according to Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani Jr., the proposal of the DOH would only create more problems because it would encourage the youth to engage in premarital or extramarital sex.
“It’s a wrong tactic. There will be more damage than before. Aside from being risky, it will also deliver the wrong message to that they will be safe from the AIDS virus with the use of condom. It is not safe because the virus can pass through even the smallest hole in a condom,” the prelate said in an interview with Radio Veritas.
Instead of free condoms, he added, the government should raise public awareness to prevent the spread of the disease.
Father Anton Pascual, chief operating officer of Radio Veritas, said sex is sacred and must be shared only by responsible married couples.
Pascual suggested that instead of condoms, the youth or any member of the community should practice sexual abstinence outside of marriage, to be faithful to one partner when married and value love and sacredness of sex as a gift of God in marriage.
Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines public affairs committee, branded the DOH campaign as nothing but a “waste” of taxpayers’ money.
“Distributing condoms will only condone sexual activity among students. The government should invest more in educating people about the perils of ‘sporadic sexual activity’ than procuring and distributing condoms,” he said.