A former official with the Philippine government’s population control organization has released an official medical report affirming that Filipina women were injected with sterilizing agents without their knowledge or consent.
Antonio (Sonny) de los Reyes served from 1978 to 1982 in a number of Pilipino population control agencies. He was in Toronto recently to attend meetings of a Catholic charismatic prayer group.
Mr. De los Reyes, 52, served as executive director of the Commission on Population, the body coordinating the Philippine government’s population policy. He was forced out after criticizing the government for targeting the poor in its population control efforts.
Although reinstated in 1986, De los Reyes refused to go back to his old position and instead devoted his life to speaking out against anti-population schemes. Today, de los Reyes is national president of the Council of Philippine Laity. The council came to international attention when it uncovered evidence of a widespread sterilization program aimed at young Filipina women.
Advertised as a national vaccination effort, the program involved the lacing of anti-tetanus toxoids with a sterilizing chemical known as HCG. Thousands of Filipino women between the ages of 15 and 45 were inoculated by the tainted vaccines. Only through the efforts of Catholic church organizations was the tainted vaccine brought to public attention.
Mr. de los Reyes said government officials at first denied the accusations and later suggested the presence of the sterilizing agent in the vaccine was an accident.
A September 16 report from the Philippine Medical Association revealed the presence of HCG in nine out of 47 vials of vaccines analyzed. Twenty two of the vaccines imported into the Philippines for the inoculation program were manufactured by the prestigious Connaught Laboratories. The tetanus vaccine tested in the Philippines was imported as part of a World Health Organization program against neonatal tetanus.
Mr. de los Ryes said the medical association report confirms the laity council accusations that the vaccine. It also calls into question the purity of drugs manufactured by some international drug companies.
The Catholic bishops’ conference of the Philippines was expected to affirm the results of the vaccine testing at a LATE October media conference.
“This was a massive vaccination campaign involving at least three to four million women,” Mr. de los Ryes told The Interim. “Many of these women had immediate side effects and we still don’t know if the sterilizing effect of the injections will be temporary or permanent.”
Meanwhile, Human Life International, a world-wide pro-life organization, called for further investigation of the program to uncover the full extent of the scandal.
“We view the adulteration of tetanus vaccine with HCG to be a matter of grave concern,” said HLI president Father Matthew Habiger. “It is absolutely essential that any country which ahs this program in place begin testing vaccines try which has this program in place begin testing vaccines for contamination.”
Mr. de los Reyes had first-hand knowledge of population control efforts not only in the Philippines but in several countries throughout Asia. He detected a pattern of governments bowing to pressure from development organization, such as the World Health Organization, to introduce contraception and population control programs. Often development aid was extended to these governments only if they agreed to the population control measures.
In many cases, bureaucrats charged with administering the programs were offered incentives to bring more people under the program. This often led to both husbands and wives being sterilized.
“All the money that is spent on population control efforts goes right down the drain,” he said. “It’s disgrace that people who were supposed to be promoting public health were in effect promoting anti-life measures.”
In a recent issue on the Population Research Institute Review, Mr. de low Reyes said Western notions of population control are at odds with deep-seated Asian values about children and families.
“People don’t like these (contraceptive devices because they go against the grain of our culture,” he said. “They want children because this is their only source of social security. Due to very flimsy economic powers, they need children, and they love children.”
He also urged the elimination of all population control programs. “We know many (North Americans) don’t know that the money you pay as taxes is going into these perverted programs that want to control the lives of innocent poor people,” Mr. de los Reyes told the Population Research Institute Review. “We ask you to just get out of this because this is not merely a matter of economics. It also concerns the morals and the very spirit of many people of the Philippines, as well as many people in the Third World.”