When classes start today, sex education will be integrated into the curriculum of 159 schools, while thousands of others will continue to lack this much needed education.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) continues to compromise its integrity by trying to appease their official sex ed consultants, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP):
In a letter to Bishop Odchimar dated June 4, 2010, DepEd Secretary Mona D. Valisno said their noble intention to introduce sex education in public schools “caused some misperception about our planned actions.”
Secretary Valisno said both the government and the Church “care for the welfare of our youth who are facing the realities of the modern times and who may not have control of the factors that could cause continuous degradation of our moral decadence in this era.”
She added she looks forward to seal agreements with the Catholic Church “on how to safeguard the physical and moral wellbeing of the country’s youth. She asked for an audience with Bishop Odchimar within the week.
When Valisno talks about “degradation of our moral decadence,” she panders to the bishops by using their language. And when she looks forward to sealing agreements with the Catholic Church on our youth’s moral wellbeing, she considers them more than just mere consultants — she grants them authority as gatekeepers of morality.
This has led to a castrated version of sex education — in both scale (only 159 schools?) and breadth (contraceptives not taught in sex-ed?). But it’s a start. Yet Valisno only succeeded in pilot-testing the program this year by ignoring Malacanang’s mandate to consult the CBCP — at least until classes open.
Now that she’s begun the consultation, I hope Valisno can take the pressure until June 30, when her term ends with Arroyo. And I hope that unlike Valisno, the next DepEd secretary won’t compromise too much in the wrong direction.