No go signal yet for condom distribution at schools: DepEd

Meneil Lopez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 18 2016 09:25 AM | Updated as of Oct 31 2017 12:05 PM

Members of the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network rally near the Malacanang Palace in support of Philippine President Benigno Aquino's policy to Family Planning in Manila on October 1, 2010. Jay Directo, AFP

MANILA - The Department of Education (DepEd) clarified Saturday that it has yet to allow the Department of Health (DOH) to proceed with a plan to distribute condoms in schools next year. 

This, after a broadsheet reported Friday that the two agencies may roll out the program among junior and senior high schoolers in 2017 in a bid curb the rising number of cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) among the youth.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones stressed that while the distribution of contraceptives could address the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases and the high rate of pregnancy among the youth, health and education officials must first discuss the plan's implications on women sensitivity, religion and culture. 

"We have not yet started talking, because we have many things also to talk about in health and education. But the news item was quite, did not capture what we meant because it was said that DepEd gave go signal, no we did not," Briones said. 

"How can we, we did not even talk to them (DOH). We still have to sit down about the mechanics, so we can say whether we agree or we don't agree."
 
Briones made the statement at the University Of St. La Salle Coliseum in Bacolod, Negros Occidental where she served as speaker during the graduation rites of 1,473 public school teachers who completed their masters and doctorate degrees under the Project-Free Paglaum Program of DepED and the local government.