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RP’s HIV-AIDS Crisis, GMA, And The Catholic Church

March 16, 2010

Nothing more to lose, everything to gain.

This must surely be the guiding premise for the Arroyo regime’s decision to play hardball with the powerful Philippine Catholic Church over the Department of Health’s new-found  determination to fight the spread of the acquired immuno-deficiency virus (HIV-AIDS) among Filipino youngsters, particularly among call center agents.

The DoH, led by recently appointed Secretary Esperanza Cabral, has been harping on the disturbing findings that the recorded number of Filipino HIV-AIDS sufferers has risen to 4,567 since 1983 with the 2009 figure already reaching 143.

Dr. Cabral’s brief tenure as social welfare boss was marked by a controversy over the storage of relief aid during the typhoon season with Cabral suing a blogger for libel over the online publication of non-moving relief aid at the height of the disastrous typhoon season .

The health secretary has been tagged by Catholic bishops as immoral over her program to tap foreign aid funding to buy condoms for free distribution in population centers.

But the good secretary is not being held back by her President, who like all leaders before her, has been careful about not earning the ire of the Catholic Church.

For once, many Filipinos are seen as giving the condom distribution drive a thumbs up.

More than being a moral issue anchored on promiscuity, the truth is the Catholic Church has done little to help Filipinos locked in poverty while the country’s population continues to balloon by 1.957% (2009 est.)

So the distribution of condoms to stem the spread of a killer disease through unsafe sex while also trying to cap population explosion makes absolutely good sense.

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