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

Mon Jun 12, 2006 - 12:15 pm EST

By John Jalsevac

THE PHILIPPINES, June 12, 2006 ( - An integrated sex-education program for high-school students is set to go ahead this year in the Philippines, despite strong opposition from the Church, reports the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) News service.

The program will integrate teaching on sexual matters into six different subject areas.

In the forward to the sex-education manual, the Department of Education Secretary Fe Hidalgo, wrote that “Information and services should be made available to adolescents to help them understand their sexuality and protect them from unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and subsequent risk of infertility.”

“Reproductive health needs of this group should be based on information that helps them attain a level of maturity required to make responsible decisions” she said.

In a letter to the Department of Education, however, Dr. Angelita Aguirre of Human Life International, speaking on behalf of the Conference of Bishops of the Philippines, wrote about the program that “It claims to foster values, restraint and responsibility yet it implies that sexual activity outside of marriage may be acceptable for as long as it does not result to ‘unwanted pregnancy’ and sexually transmitted [diseases] by ‘[un]protected sex’.”

Aguirre wants sex education to be done not by the schools but by parents, reported the CBCP News. The Catholic Church encourages parental involvement in teaching children about sexuality, leavingÂwhen and how up to the discretion of individual parents.

“We knew there is a time for everything because our teachers taught us character and values education,”ÂAguirre also said about how such matters were taught in the past, when they were taught at all.

“Human sexuality meant our total personhood and is not just an act,” she added.

She also complained that the sex-ed program does not tells students that the condom “does not protect 100 percent”, and said that the program is “devoid of full disclosure and truth telling.”

Fe Hidalgo responded to the criticisms, protesting that “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.”

Hidalgo says she will meet with the Conference of Bishops sometime in the next week to discuss the controversial program.

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