Sexuality Education in the Reproductive Health Bill (Reflection Paper)

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Reflection Paper # 2
The Reproductive Health Law has a lot of provisions on Reproductive Health Care. As defined by the full text of the “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011” [1], Reproductive Health Care encompasses different issues from family planning to maternal health and adolescent and youth care. Among these issues is my focus for this reflection paper, which is sex education. Also counted in reproductive health care is education and counseling on sexuality and reproductive health, and reproductive health education for adolescents.

Firstly, the RH Law is a law passed to address the “universal basic human right to reproductive health by all persons, particularly parents, couples, and women.” It proposes a universal access to “medically-safe, legal, affordable, effective and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies, relevant information and education. Among the guiding principles it has, based on the text, there are programs that would help couples and women in terms of family planning/ the number and spacing of children regarding their health and resources available, and also proper utilization of resources. There are also programs promoting studies to analyze demographic trends, and scientific studies about the safety and efficacy of alternative medicines and methods. Almost all of these guiding principles are related to education, as the discovery of new knowledge and the recognition of existing knowledge is being shared and made available to everyone.

Section 16 of the RH Law entitled the “Mandatory Age-appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education” talks about the “sex education in school” aspect of the law. The law proposes that reproductive health and its underlying and related topics will be taught to grade 5 to 4th year students by trained teachers in a formal and non-formal education system. Teachers will undergo training to be professionally knowledgeable and adequate in this field. The agencies involved in choosing the curriculum for the course are DepEd, CHED, TESDA, DSWD and DOH. Students to be taught are all public and private school students, the out of school youth, and the enrollees in Alternative Learning Systems. Topics to be included in the curriculum are values formation, self-protection against discrimination, sexual violence, abuse and teen pregnancy, physical, social and emotional changes in adolescents, children’s and women’s rights, fertility awareness, STI, HIV and AIDS, population and development, responsible relationships, family planning methods, proscription and hazards of abortion, gender and development, responsible parenthood. Also, another aspect of education is included in the reminder of the additional duty of the local officials, that they must provide free instructions and information on family planning and responsible parenthood to their respective localities.

If I were part of a government institution that can create a policy agenda, project or program on sex education, I would see to it that all different sectors of the locality will be covered. One crucial sector, of course, to build on education, is the youth. This counts all from students, to out of school youth and the working youth. Belonging to this part of the society, I must say that sex education is highly relevant and impactful to people my age. Aside from touching on the curriculum of schools and educational institutions, local projects such as awareness campaigns and mini-events and seminars can also be of great help. People our age find happiness in spending time with barkadas and doing fun and exciting things, and a mini-event/fair/bazaar type with celebrities and campaigns about reproductive health can provide right education as well as great memories. Another sector I would pay attention to as a government official is the women’s sector which includes the mothers (single, widowed or married). They would really...
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