MALACANANG on Thursday has advised the Department of Health (DOH) to seek recommendation from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Cabinet on how to avoid spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Ricardo Saludo said he suggested to Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral to bring the alarming issue of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) to higher officials if the latter is not sure if she is still going along government policy.

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Saludo said that following the criticisms the DOH got from Church from giving away condoms, they should seek proper advice on how to deal with the issue.

Saludo earlier condemned the program of the health department giving free condoms on Valentines’ Day to fight the risk of HIV/AIDS, which cases have been increasing particularly in Business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

He said the DOH went against government policy and should have been promoting natural birth control instead of giving away condoms for contraception.

The Church also chided the DOH’s move branding it as “vulgar” and “immoral.”

Amid word war from the DOH and Church, Saludo said he will not prevent the DOH from continuing their program but he advised Cabral to ask guidance from the President about the prudent way to address the worsening spread of HIV/AIDS.

“If they need guidance they can always go to the President and the Cabinet just like any officials in the government who may have doubts about the compliance with government policy,” he said. “As far as I know, we do not propagate condoms or contraception so that’s the policy of the government.”

The Palace official added that if the health department wanted to change something in the policy of the government they should have brought it up to the Cabinet or with the President.

“I expressed a word of few that if there were any changes, again, this is not something new, I told her if they are contemplating a change in policy, it doesn’t have to be condom, it could be anything, any kind of change in the policy of government, it would be best to bring it up to the Cabinet and with the President.”

Saludo also reminded Cabinet officials of being the alter-ego of the President wherein they should have execute policies created by the President.

“What I told Secretary Cabral is nothing new. All the cabinet members know this, if they want to make an alteration in government, then bring it up with the Cabinet and the President and then it can be sorted out then,” he said.

The Palace meanwhile leaves issue of HIV/AIDS prevention to the DOH, the President, and the Cabinet. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)