In yet another disagreement with some Catholic leaders, 72% of Filipinos believe that the Department of Health’s promotion for correct and consistent use of condom for the prevention of HIV and AIDS is beneficial for the country.
In a press conference held today, SWS President Dr. Mahar Mangahas, presented to media the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) findings on the perception of the Filipino people on HIV and AIDS. Conducted nationwide from 16 – 19 April 2010, the same survey also revealed that majority of Filipinos (67%) agree in the Department of Health’s earlier pronouncements that HIV and AIDS cases in the Philippines is increasing.
“This survey only shows that Filipinos still trust the Department of Health in matters related to public health,” said Ben de Leon, President, The FORUM for Family Planning and Development, Inc.
The Department of Health particularly DOH Secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral earned the ire of the Catholic church when she launched an all out campaign to address the rising cases of HIV in the Philippines. Her campaign included a more aggressive awareness raising and condom distribution. While certain leaders of the Catholic church called for her resignation, various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) rallied behind her.
“We wanted to show proof that the Filipino people are behind the DOH and Sec. Cabral that’s why we commissioned this survey.” de Leon said.
According to the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) and the DOH, cases of HIV cases in the Philippines has reached alarming proportions with 4 new cases being reported each day. At this rate, according to the DOH, there will be close to 1,500 new HIV cases by the end of the year.
The latest SWS survey also shows that 7 of 10 Filipinos regardless of social status and educational status from both urban and rural communities believe that the condom distribution of the DOH is beneficial to the country.
CSOs like the FORUM believe that conservative Catholic organizations and Catholic leaders are going too far in asking for Cabral’s resignation. “If they can’t offer intelligent and fact based solutions to our HIV/AIDS problems, I think these personalities from the Catholic church should just step aside and let DOH do it’s job. If you can’t be part of the solution then don’t be part of the problem. The Catholics have spoken and this SWS survey is proof.” De Leon added.
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