Ban on condom advertisements illegal, says Teodoro
By Jaime Laude
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Administration standard-bearer Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. yesterday said banning condom advertisements is illegal and tantamount to curtailing freedom of speech.
Teodoro also said freedom of choice must be accorded to each and every Filipino and with proper coordination with concerned groups, including the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Wednesday called for a total ban on condom advertisements as an ongoing tussle over contraceptives flared up again.
The CBCP issued a resolution saying that condoms do not protect against AIDS, despite advice to the contrary by health officials and activists, as well as international medical opinion. They also said condom advertisements “weaken the moral fiber of the youth.”
But Teodoro said the issue here is not about condom ads being immoral or detrimental for the youth but what is legally guaranteed by the Constitution.
“We are not talking about morality here but the law. The law says the private sectors have freedom to express, with the exception of a hate speech or something patently destructive,” Teodoro told reporters at the sidelines of his campus tour at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasay.
“If we ban the condom ads, that is tantamount to censorship and a violation of the Constitution.”
The CBCP’s resolution on the ban on condom ads comes after Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral through her department distributed condoms just before Valentine’s Day this year to educate people about the threat of HIV and AIDS.
Last month, the bishops called on the government to sack Cabral for the condom giveaways, but Malacañang ignored the demand.