Officials, Church hit UN’s call to legalize prostitution-A A +A
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
THE call of the United Nation (UN) to legalize prostitution in the Philippines has gained several objections from local legislators and the Catholic Church.
Cagayan de Oro City Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya, chair of the City Council committee on police, fire and public safety, said legalizing prostitution would only bring the women down to the level of being a commodity instead of giving them the “respect they deserved and uphold their moral rights.”
Nacaya said the sanctity and sacredness of expressing love should not be sacrificed.
“It will only ruin more families, more relationships,” he said.
Nacaya also urged the regulation of standards of movies and television programs as mass media play a vital role in setting moral standards to the people.
The United Nation recommended the decriminalization of the world’s oldest profession to help curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, especially human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
In its report, the UN said “criminalization of sex-related jobs increases workers’ susceptibility to HIV by “fuelling stigma and discrimination, limiting access to sexual health services, condoms and harm reduction services; and adversely affecting the self-esteem of sex workers and their ability to make informed choices about their health.”
With the exception of New Zealand and the state of New South Wales in Australia, the UN noted that all countries in the Asia and the Pacific criminalize sex work or any associated activities.
But Nacaya said instead of legalizing prostitution and make the women a commodity, they should be given alternative livelihood.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Phils (CBCP), said in a report that the UN’s argument does not improve the situation but instead makes it worse.
Pabillo said decent jobs and heightened awareness of women on their rights should be given more emphasis, not legalizing prostitution as it will only encourage more abuses in women.
Based on the UN’s report titled “Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific,” it stated that legal recognition of prostitution as an occupation enables sex workers to claim benefits and pensions.
“Removing legal penalties for sex work assists HIV prevention and treatment programmes to reach sex workers and their clients,” the UN report said.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an earlier report that the issue of legalizing sex will be left to the legislators.
However, Valte stressed that prostitution, in any form in the Philippines, is illegal.
According to her, the government is continuously fighting prostitution and trafficking in the Philippines through the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking. (Abigail Chee Kee Malalis)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 25, 2012.