By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) Updated June 23, 2010 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to pursue the introduction of sex education in public schools despite the class suit filed by parents opposing its implementation.
“They (DepEd) should be true to their mandate. Officials should even be supported instead of being sued. It is a sad commentary on the state of our already beleaguered educational system that certain individuals chose to undermine it further by taking this step.
It is divisive,” said Ilagan, who was a professor at the Ateneo de Davao University for 41 years before becoming a lawmaker. She said sex education should be included in the curriculum of students who are at least nine years old.
“As academicians, it is their duty to teach, and that includes sex education. Besides, the UN (United Nations) declared that sex education should be part of the curriculum,” she said.
“It is a great pity that conservative thinking will deprive pupils of knowledge that is important to a well-rounded education.”
Earlier this week, 27 persons, including defeated senatorial candidate Jo Aurea Imbong of Ang Kapatiran Party, filed a class suit against Education Secretary Mona Valisno and Undersecretary Ramon Bacani before the Quezon City regional trial court.
They sought a temporary restraining order on the implementation of sex education in public schools, arguing they have not been consulted as parents.
Buhay Rep. Irwin Tieng supported the class suit, saying the addition of sex education to the school curriculum will erode the morals of the students.
“It is the basic right and duty of every parent to protect the morals of their children inside and outside the confines of their homes,” he said.
In their petition, Imbong argued that DepEd memorandum 26, which mandates the inclusion of sex education in public elementary and high schools, violates the right of parents to be responsible for the development of moral charter of their children. Imbong heads the legal office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, which strongly opposes the implementation of sex education and the passage of the Reproductive Health bill. Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas supports the implementation of sex education but prefers that it be taught in English.
“Of course we would prefer that it be taught entirely in English, as a language is best learned and mastered through constant exposure and use in school and elsewhere,” Gullas said.
“This way, the DepEd also gets to use the new program to advance the English skills of our children at an early age,” said Gullas, an educator and principal author of a bill seeking to strengthen the use of English in schools.