MANILA, Nov. 19, 2013—With the impending implementation of sex education in the country as mandated by the Reproductive Health (RH) law, life advocates fear that sexuality courses will only expose the youth to a culture of contraception, leading them to become more promiscuous in handling relationships.
Rolando Delos Reyes, Pro-Life Philippines Board Member, said that exposing the Filipino youth to the intricacies of human sexuality and relationships at a young age will just lead them to the absorption of distorted ideals that do not go hand-in-hand with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
“Proponents of sex education are just complicating things that are supposed to be simple. (It is just as basic as) there must be no sex before marriage,” Delos Reyes said during the Pro-Life Seminar Series on Sex Education and the Media held last Saturday at the Our Lady of Loreto Church in Manila.
Citing the National Sexuality Education Standards (NSES), which according to him would most probably be the basis of the sex education curriculum being prepared by the Department of Education (DepEd), Delos Reyes expressed fears that the sexuality courses might just derail the conservative teachings of the church on family and sexual identity.
The NSES is the curriculum model prepared by medical and academic experts in teaching sex education in American public schools.
It aims to “provide clear, consistent, and straightforward guidance on the essential minimum, core content for sexuality education that is developmentally and age-appropriate for students in grades Kindergarten through grade 12.”
Distortion of values
Delos Reyes criticized some of the core concepts present in the NSES, noting that they only sow confusion on how the Filipino youth must perceive familial ties and sexual identity.
According to the NSES, students in kinder to grade two will be taught to “identify the different kinds of family structure and demonstrate ways to show respect to the different types of family.”
Delos Reyes said that it is misleading to teach students about the different kinds of family structure for there is only one familial structure designed by God.
“We should accept probably at this point that single parenthood (and other family structures) has become a reality…But what we are saying here is that it is not the design of God. The design of God is that parents should be complete—a father and a mother who will raise their children,” he added.
The NSES also specifies that students in grades three to five will be taught to “define sexual orientation as the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or different gender.”
Delos Reyes said that opening the minds of young individuals regarding same sex attraction might lead them to the perception that it as a societal norm deemed acceptable by the church.
“I am also teaching about (gender issues) but I do so in the proper context. Meaning to say, it must be contextualized in the sense that no one is born gay or lesbian,” Delos Reyes, who also works as a guidance counselor, said.
“That is how you are made and God designed you to be either a man or a woman. If you don’t like what you are given, you have to wrestle with it. Wrestle it with a counselor, wrestle it with your teacher or parents, but you have to accept what it is,” he added.
The government raised the need to teach sex education primarily due to the “alarming” rate of pregnancies among teenagers and increasing cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in the country.
According to the August 2013 Philippine Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/ Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Registry, 14,856 cases of HIV/AIDS were reported from 1984 to August 2013. Out of the total number, 13,789 were transmitted through sexual contact, while others were through needle sharing among injecting drug users, mother-to-child transmission, blood transfusion, and needle prick injury.
Of those transmitted via sexual contact, 6,094 (44 percent) were acquired through homosexual intercourse while 3,870 (28 percent) were contracted through bisexual intercourse. The remaining 3,825 cases (28 percent) were transmitted through heterosexual contact.
The age groups with the most number of cases were found among the 20 – 24 years old (22 percent), 25 – 29 years old (30 percent), and 30 – 34 years old (19 percent), the DOH noted.
“The young people are the ones at risk…They are the ones easily targeted by HIV. Now, if we are not careful, this curve might increase even more,” Delos Reyes said.
Citing the papal encyclical Divini Illius Magistri, Delos Reyes said that sex education will only be in line with the ideals of Catholicism if its main purpose is to “open the door to the virtue of purity and close the door upon vice.”
“Another very grave danger is that naturalism which nowadays invades the field of education in that most delicate matter of purity of morals,” the papal encyclical stated.
“Far too common is the error of those who with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers,” it added.
The papal encyclical further stated that proponents of sex education must learn to recognize the “inborn weakness of human nature.”
“It is clear that, particularly in young people, evil practices are the effect not so much of ignorance of intellect as of weakness of a will exposed to dangerous occasions, and unsupported by the means of grace,” it said.
Attack against family, identity
Delos Reyes said that the implementation of sex education not in line with Catholic teachings damages the faithful’s values regarding the family and the self, primarily because of the inclusion of lessons pertaining to contraception and same-sex attraction.
“We have to realize that they attack the family first and then the identity of the person. The enemy of our soul wants to destroy the family because when we destroy the family, we also destroy the identity of the person,” he said.
He emphasized the importance of keeping a family whole together, noting that the father and the mother provide the first male and female figure to be inculcated in the minds of their children.
“It is important for a family to be whole—composed of male and female parents—in order to provide the child’s identity its needed holistic growth,” he said.
“The first perception of the child regarding man is being modeled by the father and if the mother is the first female in the life of her child, whatever perception the child will have to a female will be rooted with the relationship it has with its mother,” he said.
The same applies with a child’s perception on relationships, Delos Reyes said.
“The first relationship seen by the child is the relationship of the mother and the father. Whatever it is that the child sees will be the basis of how he or she will relate to others. This is why it is very important for the family to be complete.”
He also noted that the task of educating students about sex does not fall on educators. Rather, it is a task that must be shouldered by parents to ensure proper guidance in the way their child would understand sexual concepts.
“The task of educating students, especially on the realm of sex, is not on (the shoulder of teachers) but on the shoulder of parents. The task of educators is to give the responsibility back to the mother and father because educators are not the ones supposed to carry that. It is the parents who should be doing that,” he said. (Jennifer Orillaza)