First condoms, now pills: Sec. Cabral continues DOH reproductive health program

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Esperanza Cabral says giving away contraceptive pills is the next thing on their agenda, reports the Philippine Star , as well as providing adequate reproductive health information to interested couples.

"We leave it to the families to do whatever they want to do and the DOH only facilitates or assists families who wish to do family planning...We will be giving out pills, however, we have partners from international aid agencies and local government units to make sure that people are given the proper information as well as access to the services they need," said Cabral.

The Secretary said several international organizations have given the DOH P2.5 million for contraceptives to be distributed as a part of the government's family planning program. She told the Star she hopes a compromise could be reached between the Catholic Church and the DOH so that their efforts are fruitful. Over the past weeks, several Catholic bishops expressed their concerns about Cabral's "immoral" program and called for her resignation.

Cabral reiterated her stance by saying the DOH will continue protecting the people's health while the Church should focus on their responsibility of taking care of the people's morality. "I think it's the right thing to do in order to promote the health of the people and that is a mandate the DOH has. We are just doing what we are supposed to do," said Cabral.

The Star reports that President Macapagal-Arroyo supports the DOH by not ordering a stop to their campaign, but by saying that Cabral should check first with the President before any further implementation, as advised by presidential spokesman Ricardo Saludo.



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