Health Minister Juan Flavier: How to Distribute Contraceptives in the Philippines Using CARE and NGO’s

At the U.N. ICDP in Cairo held in September 1994, Juan Flavier outlined his efforts to spread contraceptives in all Philippine villages (c.f. Juan Flavier, Viede-Privilege Talk, NGO Forum, Cairo, September, 1994):

I found out that I was very vulnerable because I was in government.  All the senators and all the congressmen in one snap of the finger can cut my budget and I am nowhere to be found.  So what did I do?  Something that you must realize—the power of the NGO.  I decided that I’ll do it through the NGOs and that’s exactly what I did, up to today.

Why? Because when I do it they shoot me, but when you do it then can’t talk.  They can’t abolish you.  Not only that: You are the electorate, at least you pretend to be the electorate….  Let us do it systematically.  I said there are five areas we’re gonna get the NGOs to do: advocacy, information, education and communication (IEC), supplies, i.e., contraceptives; and [manage] clinics.  And what I did was get NGOs for each one of them—and by underground!

Are there spies around here?  You’re all my friends, ha?  This is an open secret, that is why they are so sore…. all this was happening quietly.  Once it was installed, there was no way it could be removed.  And what we did was—we got a lead agency NGO for each (activity).

I found out [how] to distribute contraceptive supplies in an island structure like the Philippines….  I found out that CARE, (you know the property of American you meet everywhere?) they are the world’s expert in distributing food all over.  They know the system.  They have been doing it for 45 years.  So I said: ‘That’s the group!  They’re gonna bring together with the food, condoms, pills and IUDs.’

It worked!  We had a contract with them….  You have to know how to play the game….  And they cannot drive CARE away because there is [previous] agreement between government and CARE to be there and they’re there!  And they just add on the boxes and the boxes are distributed all over the Philippines.  So when they [the people] complain about the IUD, and condoms and pills all over, including villages, it is because of that one—CARE!  Now I could also honestly say that I am not spending money of the government for the supplies.  Yet, once the demand is there, then we can begin to shift.

Its the same with IEC—I got a group!  It’s an NGO from John Hopkins University Center for Communication.  Why them?  Because I graduated from that school.  It’s a good school.  Why do I say the’re good—they know their business.  And what happens when there is a need for IEC—I don’t do it—[John Hopkins University] group does it for the government.  Anybody who wants materials, you just go to them.  You don’t even have to pass through the government you know, that’s the beauty—you don’t even have to deal with [government] red tape.

Source:Jean Guilfoyle, ”The Story of Health Minister Flavier,” Population Research Institute Magazine, November-December 1994 Issue). Quoted in Conspiracy Against Life: Evangelium Vitae’s Conclusive Evidence (Two Hearts Media Organization, 1996), pp. 92-93.

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About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

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