Establish Mandatory Sex Education in Philippine Schools’ Curriculum

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According to the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), eight percent (8%) of Filipino Women aged 15-19 years old are already mothers and another two percent (2%) are pregnant with their first child. A study by Woman Health Philippines also found that most teenage girls think that only by engaging in sexual intercourse can they express love and affection. May-I-Fabros of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) also noted that young Filipinas spurn reproductive health services in fear of being labeled as licentious. Moreover, despite the Philippines being a Christian country, data collected by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that a third of Filipino youths have already engaged in premarital sex whose majority admitted to not using any form of protection.

The Department of Health reported 10,000 new cases of HIVs during the first eleven months of 2017 and another 871 new cases during February of 2018 alone. The DOH also added that ninety-seven percent (97%) of the 871 new cases had sexual intercourse as the mode of transmission. Furthermore, the health ministry and the United Nations stated that the Philippines has the fastest-growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Asia-Pacific. At the end of June 2016, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that there were 10,500 Filipinos infected with HIV. In April 2017, the DOH reported 629 persons, who are millennials, to have HIV. Seventeen people have died in June 2017. The Representative of Aangat Tayo Party-list Neil Abayon said that, “These figures are clear proof our country needs better education of the Filipino youth on how they care for their sexual health.” The Philippines need to provide a formal medium for the youths to learn about their sexual health and the importance of beneficial decision-making.

Conducting sexual education seminars or programs throughout the system is crucial to abate the ignorance of today’s youth towards the dangers of STDs. Moreover, sexual education conceivably emancipates citizens from sexual oppression, engendering wiser and healthier decisions for themselves. Sexual knowledge is an essential even behind the encouragement of abstinence and conservatism.

Here are proposals intended:

1. Mandatory sex education in every school

Similar to New Zealand's sex education, guidance about non-sexual relationships should be introduce during the early years of schooling while sexual and reproductive health should be introduced beginning from junior high school.

2. Institute a comprehensive curriculum

3 programs should be introduced, one for grade school, one for junior high school, and one for senior high school students who are mostly  teenagers. The program provides a developmentally appropriate information with a range of topics, including relationships, cultural influences on sexuality, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual health. The program should focus on the values of sexual health and the responsibility of getting involved on a sexual intercourse. There should be at least 2 or more hours allotted for sex education per week.

3. Emphasize the importance and distribute birth controls to the public

Birth control products such as condoms should be easily available for the youth. According to a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, condoms offer the best chances of preventing transmissions of sexually transmitted diseases. They are also effective against unintended pregnancies and therefore also helps reduce the morbidity and mortality rate of mothers and children. Additionally, promoting contraception reduces the need of abortion (WHO,2018).