MANILA, July 2, 2012— Spend funds intended for contraceptives to solve the burgeoning problem of child labor, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Jose Palma told government officials during a recent interview over Radio Veritas.
The Cebu Archbishop was reacting to an announcement made by the Department of Health (DoH) in June that the agency had allocated some P500 million for the distribution of contraceptives.
Palma made the suggestion following an International Labor Organization (ILO) report during the Batang Malaya campaign for child labor-free Philippines that there were 5.59 million children working in the Philippines.
“Instead of buying condoms, the government must use the funds to provide worthy programs for the employment of the parents of these working children,” Palma said.
The prelate expressed disappointment over the government’s incapacity to solve child labor and suggested that the government focus more on urgent issues instead of trying to appease foreign interests, particularly government funding of contraceptives as part of Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
“We should address urgent issues first rather than providing deficient solutions, which are not really the answer to the problem,” he pointed out.
Palma further questioned the notion of contraceptives as the solution to the problem of child labor.
“Is this really a 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?”
The archbishop advised that instead of pouring funds into contraceptives, the government create better opportunities for parents to eliminate the need for their children to eke out a living. (CBCP for Life)