May 8, 2010
The labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) expressed support for Robin Padilla in a case filed against him by a senatorial candidate for promoting the use of condoms through advertisements. “Robin Padilla is a good boy for endorsing the use of condoms which is traditionally shunned in the macho culture of Filipino males. Condoms are a reproductive health concern not a moral issue,” declared Judy Ann Miranda, PM secretary-general.
Padilla was the subject of a case filed yesterday by a senatorial candidate of the Ang Kapatiran Party (AKP) that sought to stop the ads of Trust Condoms. AKP candidate Jo Ambong argued that the ads are an affront to “public decency and morality.”
Miranda called on Ambong to face a debate on condom promotion and reproductive health instead of filing a case. “We challenge Ambong and other candidates such as Mike Velarde, nominee of Buhay party-list, who stand against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill to a public forum to discuss the merits of the issue,” she added.
PM is the group that backed the Department of Health in its controversial condom distribution campaign and trooped to the office of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines last March 8 as part of the group’s campaign for the RH bill. The Calabarzon chapter of PM also held a motorcade last March 14 that offered condoms for free. PM is also running for the party-list elections on an “Apat na Dapat” platform of regular jobs, living wage, affordable housing and reproductive health.
Miranda appealed to Padilla to stand firm in the face of the case. “Women workers ask Robin not to retreat in his endorsement of condom use. While we know Robin is not a saint, he is a positive role model for Muslim-Christian dialogue through his various projects and advocacies,” she said.
The group however called on the government to assume the responsibility for massively distributing and promoting condoms. “It is should not be principally the business of the private sector but the task of the State to provide access to reproductive health services. We demand that the new government that will assume power certify as urgent and priority legislation the proposed RH bill. It is the right of women to control their bodies and it is the responsibility of the State to defend the freedom of women to choose,” Miranda explained.
She cited a research (“The Incidence of Induced Abortion in the Philippines: Current Level and Recent Trends” by Fatima Juarez, Josefina Cabigon, Susheeia Singh and Rubina Hussain, published by Guttmacher Institute, New York, 2005) that concluded “one of every two married women did not want a child soon or wanted no more children, but were not using a contraceptive method.” Miranda insisted that “Filipinos want to reduce the number of children but do not have the means to do so. In poor communities, one condom amounts to a pack of noodles. To millions of half-starved families, basic survival definitely comes first over safe sex. Thus the RH bill provides that government must step in by providing access to reproductive health services.”