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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked people to avoid using condoms because they “aren’t pleasurable” - File photo

Outraged rights advocates and social welfare groups have slammed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for suggesting Filipinos to avoid using condoms because they "aren't pleasurable".

The president on Tuesday (13 February) had said in an event with overseas Filipino workers from Kuwait, "Avoid condoms because condoms aren't pleasurable." Duterte also told the mostly-women crowd to use pills instead of condoms.

"No, it's true. I'm not joking in front of our Republic," the president had said.

"Here, try eating it without unwrapping it," he said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

"Eat it. That's what a condom is like."

Reacting to Duterte's latest comments Senator Risa Hontiveros criticised the president for making "thoughtless" and "irresponsible" remarks on family planning and use of condoms, the Inquirer reported.

It important to note here that Philippines has "the fastest growing epidemic" of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Instead of criticizing condoms as a pleasure inhibitor, Duterte should take meaningful action to protect the health of Filipinos by backing urgently needed policy changes to expand the accessibility and use of condoms in the Philippines," Carlos Conde, a researcher for the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW), said on Friday, the Rappler reported.

Duterte's comment comes days after women's and rights groups condemned him for encouraging soldiers to shoot female rebels in their genitals.

"Tell the soldiers...there's a new order from the mayor. We won't kill you. We will just shoot your vagina," the president had said.

"If there is no vagina, it would be useless."

According to an HRW report, "The country's growing HIV epidemic has been fuelled by a legal and policy environment hostile to evidence-based policies and interventions proven to help prevent HIV transmission,".

"Such restrictions are found in national, provincial, and local government policies, and are compounded by the longstanding resistance of the Roman Catholic Church to sexual health education and condom use."