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Full statement of Fr. Dan Cancino, Executive Secretary of CBCP Episcopal Commission on Healthcare regarding the distribution of condoms in schools.

“For the 5 past years, the Philippines has shown a markedly increasing incidence rate (new cases) of HIV/AIDS. The recent 2016 (October) report reveals that there are 26 new cases tested positive per day. And the number of newly diagnosed patients belong to the young generation aged 15-24 years.

The Catholic Church in the Philippines recognizes that our young population is greatly affected by HIV/AIDS and our hearts are moved with mercy with this epidemic affecting the future generation of the country.

With the recent statement released by the government about the distribution of condoms in schools, CBCP Episcopal Commission on health care would like to express our “indignation” about the strategy. We profoundly laments the damage to young people’s consciences produced by this action because these types of gestures, far from preventing pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, encourage promiscuity and high-risk behaviors. This distribution of condoms in schools progress the “culture of death” that is alive and has embraced the young Filipinos. We believe that schools are home for the young to learn gospel-based values- value of human life and dignity human person, responsibility and respect for others, and treasuring human sexuality as a gift among others. Schools should be a bastion of the “culture of life” by providing education that forms the young to be witnesses of fidelity and chastity.

The recent apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis AMORIS LAETITIA (chapter 7) says that there is a “need of sex education” among the youth that should be part of thrust if “educational institutions.” Educational institutions should take up this challenge … in an age when sexuality tends to be trivialized and impoverished. Sound education needs to be carried out “within the broader framework of an education for love, for mutual self-giving”. The apostolic exhortation warns that the expression ‘safe sex’ conveys “a negative attitude towards the natural procreative finality of sexuality, as if an eventual child were an enemy to be protected against. This way of thinking promotes narcissism and aggressiveness in place of acceptance.” CBCP ECHC calls for a more strategic integration of sexuality education ( John Paul II Theology of the Body) in the educational system with more resources in education rather than distribution of condoms. This intervention is more lasting, more sustainable and it forms the future generation of our country in LOVE and TRUTH.”

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Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

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