Philippines Scraps Sex Education in Schools After Catholic Opposition

Mon Jun 19, 2006 - 12:15 pm EST

By Peter J. Smith

Manila, Philippines, June 19, 2006 ( – The Filipino government has backed off from its trial run of sex education on account of the strong resistance by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. The government had distributed the program to two areas of Metro Manila as part of the “pilot stage” of the Department of Education’s attempt to introduce it to the whole country.

The government was testing the reception of integrating the sex-education program into the general curriculum, including it among such subjects as health, Filipino, science, and livelihood education. In what the United Nations Fund for Population Activities called a positive step, the integration of sex education would have required teachers to educate about overpopulation and the dangers of pre-marital sex, including “unwanted pregnancies”.

“We are not tolerating pre-marital sex. We do not even encourage this. What we are doing is telling them the consequences of such acts and what should be done,” said the education department’s Acting Secretary Fe Hidalgo about the sex education program, which wouldÂbegin in 5th grade.
  Hidalgo maintained that the purpose of including sex education in the country’s high schools was for educating young adults on “their physical, mental, and social well-being”, and that the goal of the instruction of youth in the matters of sex, and the proper use of condoms and contraceptives was indeed “to discourage rather than encourage the act.”

However, the Filipino Bishops have objected that the introduction of sex education into the public schools would encourage teenagers to try premarital sex rather than remain abstinent, and emphasized that sex education is the parents’ responsibility, not the government’s. On top of that, the sex education program instructs youth in the use of artificial contraceptives and condoms, which stridently violate the Church’s solemn teachings on human sexuality.

Dr. Angelita Aguirre of Human Life International has said the sex education program is “devoid of full disclosure and truth telling”, pointing out that the manual fails to inform youth that condoms will not protect them 100 percent of the time against sexually transmitted disease.
”[Acting Secretary] Fe Hidalgo ordered a stop to the distribution of the modules after getting the feedback. Before we circulate them, we needed to get feedback. So we’ve been receiving a lot of comments,” said Vilma Labrador the assistant secretary. The government has now ceased the program until it meets with representatives of the Catholic Bishops conference later this week.

See related coverage:

Phillipine Catholic Bishops Oppose Sex-Ed in Schools, Say it Should be Left to Parents

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