new health secretary enrique ona supports promotion of all methods of contraception
New health chief on family planning:
Make all methods available
HEALTH Secretary Enrique Ona yesterday said there should be equal promotion of all family planning methods, whether natural or artificial.
Ona, former executive director of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute before he was given the health portfolio by President Aquino, said all methods should be made available to couples if only to aid them in practicing responsible parenthood.
“We in government should be able to present it to them (couples) in a very objective manner and at the same time making sure that they are given all the options…be it natural planning, which my Church, the Catholic Church, supports aggressively, or for those who like to use scientific methods,” he said.
One reason for the equal promotion, he said, is that the government is for all couples, regardless of their religion.
“Responsible parenthood is the responsibility and the decision of a very well-informed couple, considering whatever religious beliefs,” said Ona.
He said it would be a bigger mistake if a couple brings a child in an “irresponsible manner.”
The Catholic Church is the most vocal opponent of the proposed reproductive health bill, labeling it anti-life, because it allows the use of artificial contraceptives.
Asked whether he supports the passage of the RH bill in the 15th Congress, Ona did not give a direct answer.
“I’m not aware of certain controversial issues with regards to the RH and I’m going to review more details…I may or may not support it,” he said.
He, however, said they would continue to use department funds to procure artificial contraceptives, such as condoms, if the need presents it.
As to the issue of sex education, Ona said he is not concerned with what age group will be taught.
“If it is taught in the context of biology and not in the context of pure pleasure (I don’t think there’s a problem)… in short, it should be scientifically taught. This should be cognizant of the concerns of the family and of the public on how it can be taught,” said Ona.
The Department of Education has been pushing for the inclusion of sex education in the curriculum of elementary and high school, sparking debates among different sectors.