Contraceptives don’t belong in a community pantry
The news item “PopCom hopes more pantries will hand out contraceptives to avoid unplanned pregnancies” (Inquirer.net, 5/5/21) said: “The Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) hopes that more community pantries will give away contraceptives to help the government’s reproductive health programs and to avoid unintended pregnancies.”
We find this statement in contradiction with the purpose of a community pantry. A community pantry can be best described as an aid initiative of a community for those in need, especially during difficult times such as the ongoing pandemic. As such, its organizers should focus on helping people find their daily meals rather than include other objectives contrary to its real purpose.
Contraceptives should not be treated like other food items being distributed in community pantries. Republic Act No. 4729 states that “It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, or corporation, to sell, dispense or otherwise distribute whether for or without consideration, any contraceptive drug or device, unless such sale, dispensation or distribution is by a duly licensed drug store or pharmaceutical company and with the prescription of a qualified medical practitioner.”
If these conditions are not observed, the organizers distributing contraceptives may even be held legally accountable. Putting it simply: A large segment of our population is going hungry, and community pantries should help alleviate hunger by providing food, not contraceptives.
ROSIE B. LUISTRO
Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc.
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