Sex education in schools opposed

06/03/2010 - WITH the Department of Education's (DepEd) plan to include sex education in the school curriculum, church and government officials expressed their opposition to the move, citing the need to protect the children.

But amid debates on the matter, MalacaƱang said yesterday DepEd could proceed with its plan only if it could host a talk with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza said the Palace's recommendation was meant to clear misunderstandings on the programs set to be implemented by the education department starting this school year.

"I think it's best for the DepEd to do a consultation before any policy is made on this particular issue," he said, citing that all opinions of the stakeholders must be considered before a final decision is made.

Asked if the administration would forego the implementation of sex education if the Church asked of it, he said "it will really depend on how the issues are going to be presented."

Some members of the church expressed concern that teaching sex education may promote premarital sex and lead to an increase in unwanted pregnancies.

But Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Esperanza Cabral said it is time the students are taught sex education, adding DepEd knows how to appropriately teach a child on the matter.

"Kindergarten pa nga lang pwede nang bigyan nang information tungkol diyan. Mula sa batang edad dapat may pagtuturo na tayo (Information on sex can be given to kindergarten pupils. They should know about it even if they're still young)," she added.

Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer of the Task Force for Family and Life was concerned with Cabral's proposal.

"That's worse. It's a form of mental and moral rape. Children are being stripped off totally of their innocence," said Bullecer when sought for reaction.

In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes, who chairs the Local School Board, said he will discuss ways to block its implementation in the board's next meeting.

"(Teaching) parts of the human body is anatomy and responsible parenthood should be introduced to members of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), not to pupils," the mayor told reporters yesterday.

Cortes said he prefers lessons on waste segregation and other environmental concerns to be taught in classrooms rather than sex education.

"I think they (DepEd) should re-direct their vision," he told reporters yesterday.

Cortes's reaction came after City Administrative Officer Benjamin Tiongson and Social Studies Supervisor Geronima Acut, in a recent media interview, announced the introduction of sex education when schools open on June 15.

The officials said teachers will be aided with modules on how to discuss the subject.

"I think it's high time mobarog ta, mosupak ko ani," the mayor, adding his office will check the modules first before they are used in the classrooms.

Tiongson and Acut earlier said subtopics like human rights, population, self awareness and disease prevention will be discussed.

Acut admitted there will be a discussion of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill, which the Catholic Church lobbied against.

Cortes maintained his stand against the bill, which is authored by Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, who ran against him but lost.

The mayor said the study of the human body is discussed in Biology, personal hygiene in Health, population in Social Studies and the human reproductive system in Science.

"So why sex education?" the mayor said.

He said there should be a collective effort in teaching the subject, with the help of the Church, the civil society and the PTA.

"It is the parents who know best," said Cortes on the right approach to teach the topic to children.

But Dr. Clara Falconi, Department of Education (Deped) 7 education supervisor, in a separate interview, said teachers must undergo orientation and training by the DOH before they can teach the subject.

Msgr. Esteban Binghay of the Archdiocese of Cebu said sex education should not be limited to the physical aspect, but should include the spiritual aspect.

"We shouldn't focus on the physical aspect on the subject, such as contraception, sexual intercourse and others, but also that kids must learn that sexuality must be taught in a sense that it is gift from God," said Binghay.

Binghay said aside from physical intimacy, children must be taught values, like respect.

"As sex is sacred, therefore it must be respected. It should be taught with focus on respect for each other," said Binghay.

Both Binghay and Bullecer said the issue is not if sex education should be taught in schools but on how it should be taught.

Bullecer said the DepEd should consult sectors, like the Church, on the matter (Sun Star)

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