Budget for condoms scrapped by Philippine Congress even as HIV infection rates soar

There couldn’t have been a worse time for the Philippine government to axe public funding for contraceptives from the national budget. Despite the new Reproductive Health Law requiring that government health centres provide free condoms and birth control pills, the Philippines’ legislature cut funding for this provision.

The original budget submitted to Congress for approval reportedly earmarked for Php 1 billion (more than USD 20 million) to fund procurement and distribution of condoms and other contraceptives to Filipinos. According to Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Garin, “the budget cut would have a major impact on poor and young mothers highly dependent on the government’s free provision of artificial contraceptives”;

Garin stressed the need to provide young and poor couples with family planning services to allow them to make better choices and to give their children a better future. She took note of the Philippines’ very young population, wherein women as young as 14 years old are getting pregnant.

Many of these women are pushed to commit abortion or abandon their children because of poverty while others strive to keep their children alive but are not able to give them education, she added.

Despite its enormous population, the Philippines continues to sustain a high birth rate.

Despite its enormous population, the Philippines continues to sustain a high birth rate.

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The national economy has for so long creaked under the pressure of the Philippines’ enormous population. Clerics of the country’s predominant religion, Roman Catholicism, have aggravated this problem by strongly opposing many initiatives to implement a viable population control program on a national scale. Seeking employment overseas had become a popular way Filipinos deal with a lack of domestic employment opportunity. Remittances from Filipinos working abroad as overseas foreign workers (OFWs) now account for about 10% of the value of the Philippine economy. But even this entrenched tradition is now at risk thanks to mounting economic difficulties being experienced by Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia that host a huge proportion of Filipino OFWs.

But an even more menacing effect of a deficit in reproductive health support services and facilities is the growing threat of an HIV epidemic. The Atlantic reports that despite an overall decline in new infections worldwide, the Philippines’ reported incidences of HIV infections have been growing by 10 percent each year. Alarms have now been raised after a spike in 2009 when infection rates “jumped 58 percent from the previous year”. More disturbingly…

There was a similarly dramatic increase the next year, and again the year after that. In October 2015, the DOH’s HIV/AIDS registry counted just over 29,000 cases in the country since 1984—with more than 24,000 of them reported after 2010.

…and that “most of the country’s new infections come from sexual contact”.

The Atlantic report raised awareness primarily around the plight of Cebu City which recorded one of the highest incidences of HIV infection in the country. But unlike in other parts of the Philippines, sharing of needles amongst intravenous drug users accounted for the bigger proportion of infections in recent years there.

Nonetheless, considering that sexual contact remains the primary means of HIV transmission in the Philippines, the priorities of the cash-strapped Philippine government are clear. According to the DOH, “the number of HIV infections in the Philippines could reach 133,000 by 2022,” if its spread is not stemmed any time soon.

[Photo courtesy UCAnews.com.]

15 Replies to “Budget for condoms scrapped by Philippine Congress even as HIV infection rates soar”

  1. Filipinos are multiplying like rabbits. HIV infection on the rise. What else is new?

    Huge population; people without means of income; the gap between the rich and the poor are too wide already. Politicians are still playing political Zarzuelas. The Philippines will soon explode or implode.

  2. So, in other words, the approval of RHB is useless. What good does it do now eh? these youngsters don’t know how to control themselves or at say NO to peacocks and gigis. Sigh. Malacanang should have invested in Education – it kills ignorance. oh yeah, that’s right, they don’t want to and they want us to remain that way.

  3. We may have a young population but with a shorter life span. If the virus spreads like wild fire then we may not need Zaxx to come up with a nuclear bomb to manage the population because there is already a bio hazard in place 😛

    We will just have to deal with more cemeteries and funerals though.

    1. What if this biohazard spreads to innocent people through needle poking criminals who have nothing better to do in life?

      This epidemic needs to be contained. Designate one island for all HIV carriers. Something like a leper colony.

      Castration for HIV carriers caught having sex will be the next new law in PH. The higher the fear factor the better. Fear – the only language dimwit zombies understand.

      1. Well I was being over dramatic on my last comment there. The situation is alarming, especially that it spreads so fast. And a country like the Philippines with no guts to deal with, well everything, without any effective counter measure we are dealing with epidemic here.

        If nothing is to be done, then why worry? Nobody is scared anymore. Nobody cares anymore. The endless cycle that somebody put here and only we can stop it from running.

        But when are we really going to stop doing what we are doing? I mean, it’s seems we can’t get enough of our misery. People seem to enjoy every bit of misfortune that beholds this nation.

        Well probably it’s just me, seeing things.

      2. And here I thought I was the only one paranoid of being injected with HIV infected blood by a depressed HIV carrier wanting somebody to share his/her plight.

  4. The following is my personal view/opinion about the content of the article:

    It is not a core business of any government (tax payer’s money) to subsidize/sponsor my personal sex life and my life style (drugs). It is my own personal responsibility what I do with my genitals. And if/when I am poor, I will think twice before I put my genitals inside a female’s genital. I will not only ruin my own future but also that of my partner. Especially in a country (the Philippines) where there is no legal abortion.
    Now, in my country, I can make a woman pregnant. We still have a legal abortion. But an abortion costs money. So why should I make her pregnant?
    I am not shocked that 14 year old pinays/pinoys do have sex. Happens also in my country.
    But those 14 year old in my country dont do it to make/get the other one pregnant. Although teenage pregnancies do happen also in my country.

    Moral of my story:
    – know what you are doing.
    – Let parents take up their responsibilty and give their own kids some decent sex-ed.
    – the parents should give their kids sex education as part of raising kids.
    – Educate yourself.
    – Its 2016 now and you cant get away with it by saying “I didnt know”.

  5. KENYA: Condom recycling highlights gaps in HIV prevention programming


    Local TV channels recently showed images of men in Isiolo, in rural northern Kenya, washing condoms and hanging them out to dry; the men said the price of condoms meant they could not afford to use them just once. Other men in the village said when they had no access to condoms, they used polythene bags and even cloth rags when having sex.

    Pinoys might end up using ice candy plastic bags in the end!

  6. Damn, HIV aside you need to cut the population of this country by about 50 million, not continue to breed like rabbits or rats!

  7. Question, should I have sex with a person who cannot afford a condom? How special am I to this person should be what a person is asking themselves?

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