In the Philippines: Valentine’s Day Flowers… and erm Condoms?!

Gone are the days when choosing among different types of flowers and their symbolisms are the main concern in gift-giving during Valentine’s Day. Last year, Valentine’s Day flowers became ensnared in politics resulting from a failed Philippine Reproductive Health Bill and a run-away Department of Health (DoH) offering redeemable condom coupons in conjunction with flowers bought from Manila’s wholesale flower market on the day before St Valentine’s. The Catholic Church’s strong hold on the Philippine government’s resulted in blocking the DoH efforts to reign in the country’s booming (over)population by campaigning against government approved programs on sexual education on/and contraception.

DoH gets around it by insisting it’s a ‘safeguard against sexually transmitted diseases’, attaching ‘Be Safe Always, Valentine’ on packets of condoms. Now that is just sweet, and the added contraception (and the prospect of loads of sex) just spices it up.

The good energies of last year’s exciting Valentine’s day has made its way to the new year: a consolidated and revised Reproductive Health Bill was passed January 31, 2011, in the House of Representatives. Though it still requires approval from the Senate, this hotly debated bill has now taken a step in the right direction.

Now all we need is another condom-happy (and maybe more!) Valentine’s day, and get all that safe and healthy love flowing. DoH, you got the goods!

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