Sunday, September 7, 2008



30 August 2008


Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, Archbishop of San Fernando Pampanga and Chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), today took to task the Department of Health for saying it will begin distributing condoms for general use, allegedly to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The full text of the statement follows:

We are constrained to express grave concern over the press statement attributed to Undersecretary of Health Mario Villaverde that the Department of Health will now promote the nationwide use of condoms, allegedly as a means to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

That decision, if such a decision has in fact been made, appears to us as completely irresponsible and imprudent. It is dangerous to public health, offensive to the common good and should be revoked. The mere timing of the announcement provokes legitimate questions about the real motives of the Department.

The decision ironically coincides with a recently published statement by David and Lucile Packard Foundation, one of the leading foreign promoters of population control in the Philippines, complaining that the Philippine government had not been buying contraceptives.

It also coincides with the well orchestrated campaign by a certain bloc to push the proposed reproductive health legislation in Congress which violates on its face the Constitution, the moral principles and religious beliefs of majority of Filipinos.

We are inclined to view this as an underhanded way of subverting our strong moral and constitutional objection to the proposed legislation, and confronting the nation with a fait accompli bereft of any moral or constitutional basis.

We recognize fully the need to protect our communities from the possible spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from various sources. Despite the small number of registered HIV/AIDS cases (about 3,000), this should be a priority for the Department.

But in order to succeed, we must strike at the root of the epidemic by promoting responsible sexual behavior among adults, instead of simply trying to promote what is dishonestly and irresponsibly called “safe sex”. We must encourage men and women to live morally upright lives, and to practice marital fidelity and chastity within and outside marriage, instead of telling them that risky sexual behavior is acceptable, provided they wear a condom to protect them and their “partners” from HIV/AIDS.

Not a single scientific literature claims that the condom is 100% effective or “safe,” whether as a contraceptive or as a prophylactic. Indeed, among serodiscordant couples, the condom might be able to reduce the risk of contamination of the seronegative spouse, but it could never eliminate it.

According to the scientific literature, the rate of failure of all brands of condoms is high. But this information is generally excluded from the usual propaganda about “safe sex”. This tends to create the kind of risky sexual behavior, which increases the chances of contracting and transmitting the disease.

It is the duty of the DOH never to propose for general public use any prophylactic that could increase the incidence of the disease it is supposed to prevent. It is, therefore, irresponsible, imprudent, and dangerous for the Department to declare that the use of the condom, without any change in unhealthy sexual behavior, will prevent seropositive cases from transmitting HIV/AIDS to their seronegative spouses.

And it is certainly manipulative and deceitful of the Department to require or recommend to all seronegative males the use of the condom as a “health measure” when the real purpose, it appears, is to please the foreign donors to the illegal population control program and push the latex shell as a state-mandated contraceptive.