The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Sunday urged the government to use the funds allocated for contraceptives to solve the high incidence of child labor in the country.
“Instead of buying condoms, the government must use the funds to provide worthy programs for the employment of the parents of these working children,” said CBCP president Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma in an interview with the Catholic Church-run Radio Veritas.
Palma said he was saddened when he heard that the government had funds for the distribution of contraceptives when there were other “urgent issues” that needed attention.
Last week, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that there were 5.59 million children working in the Philippines and most of them were working in hazardous conditions.
According to the 2011 Survey on Children conducted by the National Statistics Office and financed by the ILO, 18.9 percent of the 29.019 million children in the country aged 5-17 years old were already working. The figure is higher than the 4 million Filipino working children registered in a 2001 survey.
Palma was reacting to an announcement by the Department of Health late last month that it had allocated some P500 million for the distribution of contraceptives as part of its efforts to reduce increasing maternal mortality in the country.
“We should address urgent issues first rather than providing deficient solutions, which are not really the answer to the problem,” said Palma.
The Church leader suggested that the government roll out programs that would create better employment for parents to curb the prevalence of child labor in the country.
He also questioned whether buying condoms to be distributed to Filipino couples was really an “honest-to-goodness” solution to the problem of child labor, among other important issues challenging the country.
“Is this really a [genuine] solution or are we doing this because we are commanded by other countries to do so? Or are we doing this because there is, you know, so much money involved?” asked the prelate.
Originally posted: 9:12 pm | Sunday, July 1st, 2012