A Call To Action To Improve Implementation of Sex Education in the Philippines

A Call To Action To Improve Implementation of Sex Education in the Philippines

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Why this petition matters

Started by Stefhanie Evora

Since the pandemic, the number of teenage pregnancies in our country are getting extremely high. President Rodrigo Duterte even declared the prevention of teenage pregnancies as a “national priority.” 

The Philippines has recorded a total of 180,916 live births among adolescents aged 10 to 19 in 2019, according to the data from the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System of the Philippine Statistics Authority. The figure is equivalent to 495 live births per day in the 10 to 19 age group.

Department of Education (DepEd) has rolled out a Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) K to 12 Curriculum Guide starting with Regions 1, 7, and 11 — regions with the supposed highest rate of teen pregnancy. Accompanying the curriculum are DepEd teacher trainings on CSE.

Still, advocates like us are pointing out that the current government curriculum is still based on conservative values. What we would like to see instead is the usage of the positive sexuality framework, which is an approach that teaches sex as a natural and healthy part of life, instead of something that should be shamed

Junice Melgar, Executive Director of Likhaan Center for Women's Health, said:

  • “We are merely relying on the CSE standards that we, together with 25 other resource persons (including 4 from DepEd) proposed to DepEd — that this would have a positive sexuality framework, and that, while anchored on delaying sexual activity, especially in the elementary grades, it will add condoms and contraceptives after Grade 6. We are also relying on DepEd to follow their 2017 policy guidelines that describe the topics, values and life-skills that will be integrated in five subjects (science, health, social studies, values and personality development). These include developing self-esteem, respect for others, assertiveness building, decisions making, etc, apart from pregnancy-and-STI prevention.”
  • “This implementation of the law is very much delayed considering that sex ed was not questioned before the Supreme Court between 2012 and 2014 — there have nine years (and two administrations) since the RH Law mandated sex ed. There is further delay because of the restrictions imposed by COVID and the relatively slow pace of DepEd in adjusting to online mode” 

Also, Jona Turalde, Vice-Chairperson of the Guiding Group of SheDecides and Nominations and Governance Committee Member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, says that although there is concrete progress nationally, implementation and messaging should still be analyzed. She also said:

  • For us, norm change is essential as to how young people should view their sexual lives and love lives and not being boxed in [by] this idea of "courting, dating then marriage." 
  • "This is an important example because the proposed curriculum that DepEd made still looks at "Filipino values" as a priority, and messaging is still heteronormative rather than improving the education of young Filipinos for them to have informed decisions about their reproductive lives.”
  • “What we see is lacking here is concrete youth leadership, and at a local level SK involvement. We had a consultation with NYC [National Youth Commission] about EO 141 but there isn't much clarity on the role of the commission in CSE specifically… Additionally, current implementation is all school focused. How can we reach young people who are out of school, young people with disabilities, young indigenous people etc.”

Nationwide sex ed programs vary from being extremely comprehensive to talking only about abstinence. State laws, local culture, purchased curriculum and more impact what each individual school teaches, but what serves kids best is to be upfront and honest about sex and their bodies.

Parents and teachers fear that if we talk to kids about sex that it will drive them to be sexually active earlier than they would otherwise, but the truth is that educating kids about sex actually makes them more likely to make good choices. Educating kids empowers them to keep themselves safe and make good choices about sex.

Wil we just let this current government curriculum just be as it is? Will you just stay blind regarding all of the teenage moms that you see all over the social media? If you will not take acton, who will?

Steps that should be taken to further improve the implementation of sex education in the Philippines according to Dr. Melgar:

  • 1.) Clarify that the sexuality education framework that the country will operationalize on a broad scale matter will go beyond abstinence and towards access to condoms and contraceptives;
  • 2.) De-stigmatize the sexual activity of young people and their use of condoms and contraceptives, and
  • 3.) Budget for and provide protective services to sexually active young people, including condoms and contraceptives, as CSE without services is meaningless and self defeating.

Your support will put pressure on our national and local government of the Philippines to make an immediate action to improve the implementation of sex education. We aim to start spreading knowledge that sex is a natural and healthy part of life, instead of something that should be shamed.

Your one vote can truly help people, especially the young ones, to have more knowledge regarding sex which makes them more likely to make good choices. Give your support and share this call for change to your family and friends!!




8 have signed. Let’s get to 10!