PRO-LIFE advocates yesterday condemned anew the distribution of free condoms by the Department of Health (DOH), calling “immoral and Godless” the agency’s campaign against the spread of HIV and Aids.

Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, executive director of Human Life International Philippines, also criticized Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral over the campaign for free condoms, saying the health department “should not be beholden to international funding at the expense of the health of Filipinos.”

Click here for Election 2010 updates

About a hundred pro-life protesters staged a rally yesterday morning in front of the DOH 7 office in Cebu City and denounced the health department’s distribution of free condoms.

Protesters called on the DOH to stop imposing “immoral acts and Godless condoms propaganda” on the public.

They carried streamers that read: “Condoms may save your lives, but not your souls.”

The DOH was widely criticized for distributing free condoms last Valentine’s Day in Metro Manila, as part of its nationwide campaign and public awareness program to combat the threat of the human immunodeficiency virus and the acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines earlier said condom distribution and advertisements “desensitize the youth’s delicate conscience and weaken their moral fiber as future parents.”

But the health department, in an article posted on its website, stood firm in its distribution of free condoms. It said the program is not meant to promote artificial contraception but to remind “the public of the importance of responsible sexual behavior in combating the threat of HIV and Aids.”

Bullecer, former Cebu City Anti-Indecency Board head, said the DOH insisted on distributing free condoms to the public merely to use billions in global funding.

Last year, Bullecer said Congress appropriated about P2 billion for the purchase of contraceptives, including condoms. The Global Fund also reportedly allotted at least P1 billion for the procurement of condoms.

He also questioned reports about the increasing incidence of HIV and Aids. From 1984 to February, 2010, the DOH recorded around 4,200 persons with Aids in the country.

He warned that the distribution of free condoms may even lead to “skyrocketing cases of HIV.” Bullecer said their protest was just an “opening salvo” of their upcoming rallies against the DOH’s distribution of free condoms.

In support of the church’s pro-life advocacy, various groups, including the CBCP, parishes in Cebu, the Parish Pastoral Council, religious organizations, members of the academe and civic and professional groups will hold a rally, dubbed “March for Life,” on March 20 from the Abellana National High School to the Sto. Niño Basilica Pilgrim Center. (GMD)