Bishops slam condom campaign23rd February 2010
Catholic Bishops in the Philippines have called for the resignation of the nation's chief health officer, Esperanza Cabral.
Health Secretary Cabral led a campaign one week ago to hand out free condoms on Valentine's Day.
Reproductive health advocates in the country have dismissed the bishops' response to Cabral's campaign.
Ramon San Pascual, executive director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, said that the bishops were calling for Cabral's resignation just because she encouraged people to use condoms on Valentine's Day.
Ben de Leon, president of the Forum for Family Planning and Development, agreed, and said that the job of health secretary was to promote public health.
He said that the leaders of the Catholic church had been demonising reproductive health campaigns.
Both the above groups want the Philippines government to enact legislation advocating family planning.
The Catholic Church forbids artificial birth control methods such as condoms, the pill, and surgical operations that sterilise men.
Ramon Arguelles, a Catholic bishop of the Lipa diocese south of Manila, said that he believed it was immoral for people in the government to be pushing the use of condoms.
He said that everyone knew that condoms did not help prevent the spread of AIDS.
The bishops called for Cabral's resignation by posted a message on the website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.
In the statement, Arguelles said that the morality of society, and especially of its youth, would be at stake if the government did not dismiss Cabral.
More than 80% of Filipinos are Catholics.
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