CBCP: Ask people if they want billions spent on pills, condoms over food, medicine

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File photo of birth control pills. REUTERS FILE

MANILA – The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Thursday acknowledged the prerogative of the Department of Health (DOH) to issue an order to pave the way for the distribution of state-funded contraceptive drugs and devices, following the lifting of a Supreme Court temporary restraining order.

The lifting followed a certification – long sought by the high court – from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that most of the family planning commodities questioned in an earlier petition are not abortifacients, or can induce abortion, which the 1987 Constitution outlaws.

The government, particularly DOH, had sought clearance from the SC in a bid to push responsible parenthood and fully implement the Reproductive Health Law.

In the view of Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, they’d rather have the people realize on their own the implications of the DOH bid to fully implement the law.

He said the billions used to buy contraceptives could be used to buy food and essential medicine that ordinary people need.

“Ang taumbayan na lang ang tanungin natin. Papayag ba kayo na itong bilyon-bilyong ito ay ibibili mo lang ng pills at ng condom; ‘yan ba ay maaaring makabusog sa inyo, samantalang kailangan ninyo ng pagkain? Eh, pag nagkasakit ba kayo, yung pills ba at condom ay mapapagaling kayo [Will you allow billions to be spent just to buy pills and condoms? Will these items satisfy your hunger when you need food? If you get sick, can the pills and condoms bring you back to health]?”

The DOH budget for family planning commodities if P4.3 billion – something that the CBCP does not deem practical.

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