Sex Education in the Philippines
Basically, it is one of the few words that catch our attention. Whenever we see the word “sex” in magazines, newspapers and other print materials, we tend to stop at some point and become interested to read the article where it is written. It’s not because we simply feel the urge to read about sex but perhaps the “questioning self” wants to clarify and discover the truth about this matter. In liberal democracies, sex is viewed as a normal activity for both adults and teenagers. Whether they are married or not, in a serious relationship or just in a fling, they engage to this kind of human activity. In fact, most of their High School youngsters have this “get laid plans” before entering college. For them, sex is not a big deal. So, their state colleges and universities came up with a decision to integrate sex education into their classrooms as a regular part of instructions. In the Philippines, it’s very different. Whenever we say the word “sex”, we are labeled as “rude”. No wonder why if we heard of “sex” we directly associate it to “vulgarity”. We cannot blame ourselves because we are living in a society with a stronghold of moral standards and conservatism. Some of us are still walking around the circular path of Father Damaso’s preachings in Noli, dictating us not to do this and that, which made us all hypocrites at the end of the day. For sure, you haven’t heard your parents explain to you what sex is. We only encounter this word when we meet our friends, classmates, neighbors and the internet. We’ve got bits of information from our peers of the same age, brought about by curiosity and eagerness to know. We’ve got nothing from our moms and dads. It feels like everyone in our family is keeping his or her mouth shut when it comes to sex. Maybe, it’s not because they don’t want us to know what it is all about, but because they don’t know how to convey their thoughts. They find it awkward to share what they knew since they themselves have no backgrounds on sex education. Frankly speaking, majority of the Filipino families doesn’t have proper socio-cultural background in dealing with this particular matter. They find malice in educating us about sex. That’s why you can still hear children up to now, calling their organs “bird” and “flower”. If the family, as the basic social unit and the ideal source of first learnings, is not capable of providing sex education, then it would be better if the government takes the responsibility in order to address these needed knowledge and values. It would be difficult for the children to understand things that are hidden and not well explained. Just like how my friend, way back in his childhood days, asked his dad why his mom got pregnant. The only answer he got was that “kapag masayang-masaya ang isang babae, mabubuntis sya.” Now tell me, is my friend’s dad a good sex educator? Does this statement would help him know what the truth about sex is? We cannot deny that we are in the state of adolescence, whereas we have these raging hormones that are easily stimulated by uncensorable knowledge from non-school, techno-social environment. Such stimulation could possibly bring us all to the world of undesirable consequences. The Young Adult Fertility Survey conducted by University of the Philippines Population Institute said that there’s a significant percentage of early to late adolescents who are already into premarital sex. This result reflects our society today. Talk about our friends in High School who have their babies before or after graduation. Talk about Nene in “Katorse” who feared about her nanay’s reaction rather than the burndens she’ll carry after having unsafe sex. Problems regarding ignorance in sex are indeed rampant. With SexEd, the intention is not to encourage young ones to engage into sex but to propagate learnings instead. As long as highly influential institutions, like the Church, are there, willing to guide and give assistance, we will...
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