MANILA, 21 January 2008— Anti-abortion organizations urged the Roman Catholic bishops to lead a campaign calling for a ban on condom advertisements on radio and television.
In a press conference Monday, AIDS-FREE Philippine, Human Life International and Family Media Advocacy Foundation and legislators advocating pro-life took turns in denouncing condom advertisements which they described as "offensive to public morals."
The groups said that condom ads are "directly promoting sexual promiscuity and licentiousness" especially among the young.
Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer of the AIDS-FREE Philippines said their campaign would have more chances of winning should they receive the backing of the influential Church leaders.
"We urge the bishops to also declare an all-out-war against this propaganda (promoting condoms)," he said.
Bullecer made the call few days before the 96th plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines set on January 25 to 27.
The advocates called on CBCP to also include in their agenda the proposed a ban on advertising of all condoms and artificial contraceptives.
According to the groups' spokesperson, FAMAF executive director Atty. Jo Imbong, the condom ads appear even in programs for general audiences where children form part of the general audience in free and cable television channels.
Citing the Code of Ethics in Advertising, Imbong said that advertising has a social, economic and cultural responsibility to the community and the advertiser's interest should take into account public interest.
"Here the ads convey a vulgar message and mock the sensibilities of the audience," she said.
The groups alleged that certain television shows in a major network incorporate within their talk-show and interview formats subtle "condom-lifestyle" advertising and advocacy and blurs the distinction between advertising and news content, which is unethical programming prohibited in the Television Code.
The organizations already filed last week a complaint with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the Advertising Board (AdBoard) to ban radio and television ads "selling a condom lifestyle."
They also asked the authorities to enforce the ethical norms embodied in the Radio and Television and Advertising Codes, respectively, and forbid condom ads from the said media channels.
Family planning has been a contentious issue in the country, where the Catholic Church has vehemently opposed the promotion of artificial contraceptives. (RL)