MANILA, May 13, 2014– As ‘Yolanda’ victims continue to suffer, a Catholic bishop has criticized some foreign aid agencies for giving out contraceptives such as condoms and pills in Eastern Samar, instead of focusing on livelihood needs.
Instead of birth control, Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez said what the people need at the moment are livelihood and other means to survive.
“We must be extra-careful in dealing with NGOs, which promote artificial reproductive devices,” Varquez said. “They are taking advantage of the vulnerability of the victims.”
More than six months after Yolanda struck, he said victims are still suffering from the lack of food supply, no permanent shelter and no livelihood to help them recover.
The bishop called on the clergy, especially those assigned in typhoon-hit parishes, to ask their parishioners to reject artificial birth control devices offered to them by certain aid agencies, which he did not identify.
“Let us teach our people to accept their assistance for shelter and livelihood, but refuse their promotion of artificial reproductive devices,” added Varquez.
“It is our moral stand that the survivors still have the right to health and life. The artificial reproductive devices are threats to such rights,” he said.
Birth control is a delicate subject in the predominantly Catholic country, especially with the recent implementation of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law.
The church official also said that farmers and fishermen need all the support they could get from the government and aid agencies.
Though the bishop did not identify any group, among the visible agencies providing aid in the province in the form of family planning is the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA).
Immediately after the onslaught of the typhoon, the UNFPA rolled out an information campaign on birth control services in Eastern Visayas.
The UN agency said that they are concerned about unwanted pregnancies and the possible spread of sexually transmitted diseases. (pacifictimes.org)