MANILA, Philippines - Seven barangays in Balanga City in Bataan province have issued ordinances that ban the sale of condoms without a doctor's prescription, similar to the one in barangay Ayala Alabang in Muntinlupa City.
- Cupang Proper
- Cupang West
- Puerto Rivas Ibaba
- Puerto Rivas Itaas
- Puerto Rivas Lote
The 7 barangay captains gave copies of the ordinances to Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III before the closing of an anti-RH (Reproductive Health) bill rally over the weekend, said Catholic Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, as reported by The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) has condemned the barangay captains' latest move, saying that "women, men, parents and couples have the right to decide which contraceptives to use."
"The need for prescription undermines the right of residents in these barangays to contraceptives. In the first place, the need for prescription to purchase condoms and pills is baseless," PM secretary general Judy Ann Miranda said in a statement.
Abs-cbnNEWS.com tried to contact the barangay captains, but they could not be reached for comment.
The Ayala Alabang ordinance
, which has yet to be approved, discourages the sale and use of contraceptives, and bars any sex education activity within the barangay's jurisdiction without prior consultations.
The city council has remanded the ordinance to the barangay level, saying that some parts may be seen as an infringement of human rights.
More than 100 residents of Ayala Alabang, host to an upscale residential village, launched a silent protest
over the weekend against the said ordinance.
Although they said their protest has nothing to do with the controversial RH bill, most of those who joined the 2-hour demonstration said they are in favor of the use of contraceptives.
Fr. Joaquin Bernas SJ, JSD, one of the country's top legal minds, earlier called the Ayala Alabang ordinance "an attempt by a sector of the Catholic Church to instrumentalize the power of the state
to impose Catholic belief on all others."
"This is something which gives the Catholic religion a bad name," the dean emeritus of the Ateneo Law School said in a blog post, adding that Catholics should not impose their belief on other people.
City council bucks ordinance
The city council of Balanga, meanwhile, said it will oppose the ordinance passed by the 7 villages.
This week, the ordinance is set to be submitted to the city council, which has the authority to either approve or reject the measure.
Balanga Vice-Mayor Noel Valdecanias said he is against the ordinance, explaining that individuals must be given the free choice to determine which method to use for family planning.
On the other hand, City Mayor Jose Garcia and the Catholic Church leadership in Balanga are supporting the measure.
Garcia said Bataan is known for having the highest human development index rating in the country because the local government focuses on education and not contraceptives.
He said they are ready to defend the measure before the city council. – with a report from Alex Santos, ABS-CBN News