Freeman Region

Opposition vs distribution of condoms in schools continues

Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros - The Freeman

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Despite Education Secretary Leonor Briones’ objection to the distribution of condom to senior high school students inside school campuses, a church-based organization continuously register opposition to this plan of the Department of Health.

The Family and Life Apostolate, in its seminars conducted in schools, have been reminding the students to refrain from engaging in pre-marital sex as well as doing unsafe sexual practices, especially with the looming passage of a bill allowing same sex marriage.

Engineer Albert San Gabriel—coordinator of the Family and Life Apostolate and pastoral counselor of Sto. Niño Church in Tacloban City since 2004—said in an interview with The Freeman that the use of condom will endanger these students instead to experiment with sex.

San Gabriel, who is also a member of Human Life International in the Philippines cited three reasons for his fears:

“First, they do not know how to use it correctly; second, according to (Dr. CM) Roland’s latex study the condom has microscopic hole through which the human immunodeficiency virus can permeate; and third, since the young generations of today easily become curious with new discoveries, this will drive them to try it.”

Father Raymund Sotto, spiritual director of FALA and St. Rafael the Archangel Parish priest, reacted, “Giving condom to schools is not the solution to the increasing issue on HIV and early pregnancy.”

Sotto suggested: “Educate the students on the ABC method: A — abstinence from sex outside marriage, B — be faithful to one another and C — conversion of heart to the value of love and sacredness of sex as a gift of God in marriage.

Two weeks ago, Briones was reported to have informed Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial that DepEd cannot support the distribution of free condoms as means to curb the increasing number of cases of HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) among the youth.

Securing parental consent on issues like this was one factor that prompted the DepEd to back off. "We analyzed what our role is in this program because these children are minors. Parental consent is needed in this issue," Briones said.

Arabelle Basas-Tenebro, chief guidance counsellor in Eastern Visayas State University, would rather resign from office than be a partaker in the distribution of the free condom to senior high schools. She agreed that distribution of condoms would only encourage the young people to engage in premarital sex. “Their curiosity will all the more be triggered, since condoms will be very accessible anytime,” she surmised.

For Melvin Yanuario Maraya, youth coordinator in San Joaquin Parish, Palo, Leyte, “The church shall continue its advocacy because the catholic church believes that the preservation of purity (chastity/virginity) whether physical or spiritual is a way of preserving also the sanctity of human dignity and of human life.”

He agreed too that distributing the condom for free to teeners may cause or motivate more students to enter or go to sex at early age.  (FREEMAN) 

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