Gabriel Reyes

Prolifers slam condoms, bets who back RH bill

Prolifers slam condoms, bets who back RH bill
By Julie M. Aurelio, Beverly T. Natividad
Philippine Daily Inquirer

PROLIFE GROUPS Saturday claimed that condom use will not stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and vowed not to support any candidate who endorses the reproductive health (RH) bill.

“Let us not exclude God from the equation of life and health,” said protesters at a rally at the Riverbanks Ampitheater in Marikina City yesterday, led by the Antipolo diocese and Catholic religious and lay groups.

The protesters, who numbered about 600, including young people and their parents, said they were reiterating the Church’s defense of life and marriage.

“Authentic sexual values are expressed in premarital chastity and fidelity to spouse. It rejects the reproductive health bill and calls on the people to respect God’s plan for life,” the rally organizers said in a statement.

The statement said the rally, which ended with a concelebrated Mass by Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes, was meant to be a protest against the Department of Health’s campaign to distribute condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

One of the organizers, Veronica Pineda, said good governance was vital in fighting diseases like the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.

The statement said the protest action was meant to show the candidates in the May elections that “the people’s desire is not contraceptives but good government, and supports the call to reject candidates who support the reproductive health bill.”

In his homily, Reyes said that the religious sector was united with the Department of Health in its aim to curb maternal mortality and reduce the spread of AIDS.

But in doing so, the Health Department should not forget God, he said.

“It seems they didn’t include God and morality in this equation when our life and health comes from God,” said Reyes.

The government, the Antipolo bishop said, cannot promote life and health without also teaching about the moral aspect of life.

“It is as if for them it’s OK to lose one’s morality as long as you are in good health. Even if you go to someone not your wife, it’s okay as long as you are not sick,” Reyes said.

Conservative Catholic groups earlier denounced the Department of Health for distributing condoms on Valentine’s Day. Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral explained that the campaign was against AIDS and not contraception.

The prolife protesters said that condoms had a 15-percent failure rate and that viruses could still pass through latex condoms, and they are therefore not a fool-proof means of AIDS prevention or pregnancy.