Sex Education     (Photo Credit:    Bikyamasr)

Sex Education (Photo Credit: Bikyamasr)

Education  in our country is based on both Western and Eastern ideology and philosophy influenced by the United States, Spain, and its neighboring Asian countries. The quality of education has always been the government’s top priority.

As a matter of fact, to address the people’s basic needs Pres. Benigno Aquino III signed the P1.8 trillion national budget of 2012 allocating P238.8 billion for  education “the biggest budget of all departments.”  Hitherto, the government’s persistence to offer the best education to the youth remains a struggle concerning not only in the budget but the curriculum itself.

 The proposed inclusion of sex education to both elementary and high school level evoked varying opinions, huge deals of arguments and debates in Philippine senate. The incorporation of the said proposal in our education was pushed by the former Education Secretary Mona Valisno and Undersecretary Ramon Bacani. Opinions are bisecting, which groups agree and disagree.

 We all know that Philippines is predominantly a Christian country, the centre of Christianity in Southeast Asia. A home where being a conservative person lingers as tradition. Approximately, more than 80% of the inhabitants are mainly Catholics. But what baffles me, is that albeit of a well-practiced conventionalism, prostitution remains invincible, heightening figures of early/unwanted pregnancy, cyber sex businesses sprouting anywhere and the alarming rate of HIV increases.

Aforementioned above are just few of the many problems which resulted from lack of information and zero knowledge in sex education.

 In order for us to find solutions to the problem is to acknowledge what the problem is.

 It is not a coincidence that Harry Thomas (US Ambassador) said in a statement, that 40% of male tourists visit Philippines for prostitutes. Neither the sexual insult of this American radio host Adam Corolla had implied that the Philippines is a country of whores, prostitutes and sex workers.  To add injury to this insult, he even called Manny Pacquiao a fucking idiot and advised the Filipino nation to get a fucking life and not only settle on stories revolving on Manny Pacquiao.

What amazes me gauging back our history is that Maria Clara is a concrete embodiment of a native Filipina. However, we are a country where  prostitutes abound. What’s up now?

It is very painful for me that the majority themselves admit they are serious Roman Catholics devotees and are standing against abortion, calling their selves a pro-life. But in contrary, they are all silent with the glaring truth that at a very young age, a lot of young people today have children of their own. 30 % of all births belong to this age group; and by the age of 20, 25% of the youth are already mothers.

According to statistics, in annual duration there are at least 64,000 teenagers have abortions, and studies show that this rate is actually exist  in our country where abortion is illegal and yet we claim that we are Catholics.

In a country where conservatives worries about morbidity and promiscuity against sex education, in which I as an authors pays my utmost respect, lies the truth, that there are two million teenage Filipina girls who are pregnant at this moment while there are approximately four million Filipinos aged 15-19 have already had sexual intercourse and now having sex while you are reading this. We can’t do anything about it. We cannot stop it. The least option we could possibly do is to educate them.

 The main cause of an early and unwanted pregnancy is not mere result of the gratification of sexual urges. Oh yeah you might say it this way that pregnancy would not occur if studies were prioritized instead of “kalandian”. That if there were no (PMS) premarital sex, then there will be no pregnancy then. Pregnancy is a gift ergo, stop blaming the youth, that doesn’t help. Let us listen to them instead.  Boyfriend and girlfriend had sex because they love each other, blah blah whatever, but don’t you think that if they were just well-armed with the information about the use of contraceptives, safe and responsible sex, will still lead to this? Not that I think.

How do you expect a 15-year old mother to raise her child?

How do you expect an 18-year old boy to be a fatherly figure to his kids?

 Therewith, if that is the case then there will be more irresponsible fathers and mothers in this generation. Irresponsible parenthood affects wide scope in our economy, they cannot afford to send their children to school, they didn’t finish degrees or even high school diploma, there will be a little chance to raise their kids in becoming a good citizen and the disheartening issues are, more babies, more street children.

 In this phenomenon of early pregnancy, due to lack of knowledge and assistance, if not abortion, child abandonment comes to the picture as a choice. Based on a report entitled “Situation of the Youth in the Philippines,” there are about 1.5 million street children in the Philippines. I don’t know what the DSWD is doing with regard to this. That was in1998, how about this 2012?

 If these snippets number enhances, propensity will be, kid smokers, drug addicts, health problems, summary execution of street children, child prostitution, sexual exploitation and HIV’s STD’s victims, as a matter of fact,18% of the street children contract sexually transmitted infections (STIs), again that is here in the Philippines.

Likewise, if there will be more street children, there will be more petty crimes in the streets, it will increase child abuse cases, they will do things which they think are fun and continue practicing it. Their houses are not a home.-Just saying. These bare knuckles will end up in jail. According to statistics, May 6, 2005, it was estimated there were 2,100 children in jails across the Philippines, 20 of them on death row.

 For the record, I am not degrading the capabilities of our youth in raising their own family, but this is the reality. Look around you. Some teenagers perhaps can stand in early pregnancy if her family has a financial capacity in aiding, but how about the poorest of the poor?

 According to the DOH-Department of Health  AIDS Registry in the Philippines reported 3,456 people living are HIV/AIDS positive as of September 2008.

 The prevalence of HIV-Human immunodeficiency virus epidemic remains it rapid growth as viral as magnum and Simsimi.

 How this virus transmits

 By heterosexual intercourse accounted for the majority (61 percent) of the Philippines’ reported HIV/AIDS cases, followed in descending order by homosexual and bisexual relations, mother-to-child transmission, contaminated blood and blood products, and injecting drug use.

 What triggers the risk?

 Several factors the clutch us in danger of a broader HIV/AIDS epidemic. Includes overpopulation within and outside of the Philippine islands; a conservative culture, adverse to publicly discussing issues of a sexual nature even to their kids, rising levels of sex work, casual sex and unsafe/unprotected sex.

 When I was a kid I thought rubbing sexual organs against each other is already a sex then will result to pregnancy. I remember my ritual test in process of becoming a real bachelor.  Right after my circumcision, elders told me not to step over in any hard woods or timbers because my dick might get bigger or flat like ciabatta. Lolz. You know what I mean. I burst out laughing when I saw my sister jumping off from the third edge of the stairs to the ground because it was her first menstruation. I really don’t know what the hell is that for. In this country where myths and legends eons ago were proven false, It’s quite amazing that such notion considered a solid fact. I myself am a proud Filipino but I am not a fan of these celebrated superstitions.

 How sex education gives solution all these bullshits?

It discusses the instructions on issues relating to human sexuality, including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, birth control, and other aspects of human sexual behaviour. Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, formal school programs, and public health campaigns. Thus, sex education also discusses all aspects of sexuality, including information about family planning, reproduction (fertilization, conception and development of the embryo and fetus, through to childbirth), plus information about all aspects of one’s sexuality including: body image, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, values, decision-making, communication, dating, relationships, sexually transmitted diseases  (STDs) and how to avoid them, and birth control methods

 I view this sensitive issue in both positive and negative sides. Sex education is not merely a unit in reproduction and teaching how babies are conceived and born. Let’s think beyond the rotten box. It has a far richer scope and goal of helping the youngster incorporate sex most meaningfully into his present and future life, to provide him with some basic understanding on virtually every aspect of sex by the time he reaches full maturity. It is also necessary to prepare the young for the task ahead.

 Parents worries about sex education for their kid’s ages ranging from 11 onwards. Technically, the DEPED considers the curriculum’s suitability to the students.  I assert, teachers will not introduce sex positions and condom demonstrations inside class. Personal hygiene and human anatomy are basically the syllabus.

 The Catholic Church sees differently

 Stop this promiscuous promotion as they woe.

 Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP,)  the council of the Catholic church believe the task of telling children about sex and relationships should be up to parents, not teachers, and that teaching sex education in schools, especially to young children, it would result to a major catastrophe.

 ”Children are fragile creatures. The [education] department should be very, very careful not to teach children about matters they will imitate the following day,” said Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, a spokesman for the highly influential Catholic Bishops Conference.

 Subsequently, I don’t see “distribution of resources” is the problem in overpopulation that causes poverty. Philippines is too big for 90 million inhabitants. We don’t just need balance. Distribution of resources becomes a problem only if inadequacy of the resources occurs. We’re too a lot. You cannot feed one fish for 10 persons.

 Admittedly, in comparison from kids yesterday, kids today are smarter and very curious in anything. But I don’t see such factors are enough to hinder the implementation of sex education. Curiosity exists within all of us.

 The church vexes, that such move will induce sex and propagates immoral ideas and virtues. For they fear  kids will just imitate it.

 Kids today are not fools, they are not jerks to go to the comfort room when it’s recess and have sex or masturbate. More so, the teacher will not start the class with this opening spiel “Alright, let start our lesson, go to your sex partners”.

I firmly believe that our parents were our first teachers and our home was our first school. Hypothesizing this controversy, the capacity of a parent to discuss sex with his child is not enough. What am trying to point out is that we cannot continue to rely on parents to talk to their kids about sex. Some parents were never taught themselves and are uncomfortable with the subject matter to begin with. We cannot just take the risk of our child’s education, but getting the necessary information from well-trained professional instructors is worth the risk.

 Adding to this, our educational system should be responsible for teaching our children what changes occur in their bodies in period of puberty. How do you expect a parent whom less knowledgeable in answering possible questions?

 “Mom!!!!!!!(a girl freaking out in the bathroom).

“What happen, honey?” mother asked.

“Look at this, I have hairs under, what is this thing mom?”

“(sigh) Oh honey ,there is a monkey underneath, its hair is growing,”  said mom.

While at the dinner. “Sister, I have a monkey underneath, its hair is growing (the girl boasting).

“Oh great, mine is already eating banana”, sister said. (then mom faints)

Is that how you respond if such inquisitive arises? Blind your kids with ignorance?

 Talking about sex with kids and teenagers is not easy. But I believe the school system has an important role to play with regard to educating our children about sex and the potential consequences of risky behavior. SEX is not a harmful word neither a “kabastusan”-morbidity.

 I believe that sexual health education should be part of comprehensive health education. It must be age appropriate, medically accurate and enable students to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to make healthy and responsible decisions throughout their lives. Sexual health education addresses factors that affect sexual behaviour, such as self-esteem and perceived social norms, and helps young people develop a positive view of sexuality in the context of family and community values.

 The only disadvantage I foresee is taking away the rights of the parents in educating their children in such sensitive subject. But if we will not educate our kids today, when will we start? It is better to do something than do nothing at all.

 If you think, sex education fuels millions to fund instructional materials, so be it. Which will you choose, spend much peso in education or feed our millions to politic crocodiles? If you think, sex education makes condom manufacturers rich, then you should stop selling pirated DVD’s just make condoms.  Use condoms today or buy diapers tomorrow. If you think, it thickens the wallet of abortionist then I’ll say you are imbecile, do some research dude.

 Please, let us think beyond the rotten box. Sex education purports to enlighten the youth about sex scientific elucidations and certain areas which I think conservatives overlook or they just don’t what to understand it. With concern of preserving our values as Filipinos I don’t think we should limit our understanding even in a very sensitive issue. Kids today have a lot of access in internet, they will know everything.-Just saying. Sex education gears towards comprehensive health awareness; it discusses the line between lust and love, it doesn’t encourage sex enjoyment for god’s sake!

 In a broader spectrum of this metamorphosis, youth today engage in many activities unbeknownst to their parents. Youth today are more adventurous, aggressive and fast-growing due to different mediums in their environment. Youth today, are admittedly smarter compare to youth decades ago. I know how does it feel because I am part of this borough calling themselves a “nation’s hope. I am 19 years old, a modern boy of the 21st  century. We don’t live in caves, for pete’s sake! Give us your trust, for we need to know the harsh reality that premarital sex may bring. Conservatives fear so much about the consequences  but they keep their selves blinded with truth in present. It’s not more fun in the Philippines if we keep our eyes blindfolded and just rely on futile optimism. We the youth of today, together, we can make a better nation. Philippines badly needs sex education, not for the church but for us, youth, the hope of this nation, whose voice has a greater substance?

 

author:   steffano perales

p.e./mj

 

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