RH alternative pushed in the grassroots

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/10 July) —  The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro is intensifying its promotion of the Natural Family Planning (NFP) method which is considered by Archbishop Antonio Ledesma SJ as a viable alternative to the controversial Reproductive Health Bill.

Thirty NFP counselors from Brgy. Bulua this city completed today the three-day seminar workshop.

The seminar-workshop “aims to develop skills and knowledge on responsible parenthood and the NFP methods,” said Tita Rita Carpentero, NFP Coordinator of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Brgy. Bulua.

Resource persons from the Department of Health and the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro gave lectures and workshops on responsible parenthood and the various NFP methods like the Basal Body Temperature, Cervical Mucus Method, Sympthothermal Method, Lactational Amenorrhea Method, Standard Days Method and Two Day Method.

Those who completed the training are tasked to promote in the barangay the practice of NFP instead of  artificial birth control methods.

“They will go house-to-house to teach couples on the NFP and encourage them to adopt the practice,” said Norma Caingles, NFP Coordinator of the Dept. of Health (DOH).

Caingles said they are engaged by the Church to promote the NFP in the barangays.

In a Pastoral Letter released on Easter Sunday in April this year, Abp. Ledesma had put forward the NFP as the alternative of the Church to the RH Bill.

Ledesma said promoting the NFP as the alternative is a more productive way of saying “no” to the RH Bill which includes the promotion of artificial birth control like pills,  condom, IUD, ligation, among others by the government.

In the introduction of his Pastoral Letter, Ledesma said “the controversy over the Reproductive Health Bill has lately been reduced to a zero-sum proposition where concerned citizens are simply asked to say either “Yes” or “No.”

In explaining the NFP Program of the Archdiocese, Ledesma said all modern scientific NFP methods should be included; NFP method should reach out to all parishes and chapel communities; and NFP is being promoted without back-up contraceptives.

The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro claims that since its inception in 2006, the NFP already has 3,500 “couple-acceptors” and 90 percent of all the parishes and chaplaincies have been oriented and trained on the NFP by more than 2,000 volunteers. As of December 2010, 22,000 couples have attended 1,500 chapel-level orientations throughout the archdiocese.

The ACDO covers the city, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin and parts of northern Bukidnon. It engages the local government units in their areas of coverage as well as the DOH in promoting the NFP. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)