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By Sheila Crisostomo


MANILA, Philippines - On Valentine’s Day, the Department of Health (DOH) is reminding the public to be faithful to their partners as having many could be really stressful.

“Our advocacy this year is ‘Be careful with you heart.’ Be faithful to your partner, reduce your stress and enjoy life more,” said Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial in a press briefing yesterday.

DOH Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo said couples should also take precautions, like using condoms, if they do not plan on having children or adding to those they already have.

“If you plan to get pregnant at this time that we are not certain about Zika, we also encourage protected sex even among couples,” Bayugo added.

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Although the DOH is not giving out condoms in today’s Valentine’s celebrations, Ubial noted that the agency has been providing these through local government units and other health sector partners. 

“This is a continuing advocacy – to continue providing condoms, particularly to the ‘at risk’ population,” Ubial added.

The DOH is also advising the public to go on a “heart-friendly diet.”

“Instead of buying your sweetheart an overload of cakes, sweets and fatty food, why not give a more permanent gift? A poem, letter or message may convey more feelings,” Ubial said.

If asked for chocolates, she recommends the “dark chocolate with less sugar and caramel added.”

“Dark chocolate should be made up of at least 60 to 70 percent cocoa. It has flavonoids and antioxidants that are good for the heart and blood vessels. Eat only a moderate amount, approximately an ounce or around 30 grams a day,” Ubial specified.

She also said that home cooking is still healthier than eating in restaurants.

Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija Bishop Roberto Mallari advised parents to chaperone their minor children or those aged 18 years and below when they go out on dates.

He believes that chaperones or guardians could guide the young.

“They should not only guard their children on Valentine’s Day but even during school activities,” Mallari said, adding that parents should not miss out on their child’s important life events, like the activities in school.

“At times, the end result is the child who is craving for parental attention would seek attention elsewhere. This is why parents should take their roles seriously,” he added. 

Parents, he said, should also advise their children to avoid going to dark places to avoid temptation. – With Evelyn Macairan, Rhodina Villanueva

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Base from the 2015 CENSUS of Population: 100,981,437

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