After Duterte’s remarks, PopCom reminds public condoms prevent HIV

Mara Cepeda

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After Duterte’s remarks, PopCom reminds public condoms prevent HIV
Commission on Population chief Juan Antonio Perez III says condoms are 'the preferred method' to prevent sexually transmitted diseases

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Population (PopCom) reminded the public condoms provide protection against sexually transmitted disease (STDs) like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). 

PopCom executive director Juan Antonio Perez III made the statement on Monday, February 19, about a week after President Rodrigo Duterte told overseas Filipino workers from Kuwait not to use condoms because these “aren’t pleasurable.” 

According to Perez, a person’s choice of a family planning method to avail of does depend on the preferences of the user, “and this may be influenced by one’s experience with the use of condoms.” 

“For example, the President’s own experience with condoms may be the reason for his stated preference, and this cannot be subject to debate,” said Perez.

But the PopCom chief maintained practically speaking, condoms are the “preferred” family planning method to avoid STDs. (READ: Lack of condom use contributes to rising HIV infections in PH

“On a technical note, condoms are preferred method for prevention of sexually transmitted disease. When used properly, condoms are the best way to prevent sexual transmitted disease such as HIV,” said Perez. 

He added, however, that condoms are a temporary method and “unlikely to be used as long term family planning method.”

Duterte on February 13 had said, ”’Wag ‘yang condom kasi hindi masarap ‘yang condom.” (Avoid condoms because condoms aren’t pleasurable.)

He even told the OFWs in the audience to “eat” the condoms instead 

Carlos Conde, researcher for the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW), said it was “irresponsible” for Duterte to downplay the importance of condoms.

The Department of Health said the Philippines has “the fastest growing epidemic” of HIV in the Asia-Pacific region. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.