Today, the Philippine Commission on the Status of Women hailed the Department of Health’s recent condom distribution program, responding to intense disapproval of the program from Malacañang Palace and the powerful Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
The controversial program, Ingat Lagi, My Valentine (“Take care always, my Valentine”), distributed free condoms at flower booths in Metro Manila on Valentine’s Day in order to address increasing incidences of HIV among young adults. The move defied the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception, as well as governmental policy mandating the promotion of natural methods of birth control. Following the event, the Catholic Bishops Conference demanded the resignation of Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, the woman behind the campaign. Cabral continues to stand her ground.