Thursday, October 21, 2010

Who Will Teach My Children?

"Stand up for life, stand up for love".  Those are the words that stuck in my mind from the lecture that Atty. Jo Imbong, Legal Counsel of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) gave at the Teaching Night for the Couples for Christ's Mission Core Group.  The  Mission Core Group or MCG is made up of all top leaders of the Catholic lay organization.  Since I know that the stand of Couples for Christ in the raging war on reproductive health is the same as that of the Catholic Church, I expected a rehash of the arguments a few years back.  I admit that my stand on some of the provisions of the bill are debatable and/or do not conform with the stand of my Church and my being a "leader" of Couples for Christ, one provision though woke me up from complacency.  The controversial provision is the mandatory reproductive health education for Filipino children from Grade 5 to high school.  From what I heard from Atty. Imbong and from my readings, the sex education, as it is commonly referred to, will be taught to the youth by someone whom they don't know or are close to.  I feel strongly on this as this bill will usurp my role as a confidante and friend to my children.  Not only do I believe that it is my right as a mother to explain to my children this highly sensitive issue of sex education but I would be assuring them that I only have their best interest in mind.  Does a health worker or teacher know better when to teach my children the "birds and the bees"?  Do they know how my child will react on this topic?  What about the health worker and teacher?  Are they comfortable in implementing the RH bill if it is against the teaching of their Church?

I agree that government has to make the most of its meager resources in delivering the best services to its citizens.  In the first place, governments exist for the people.  But will this mandatory reproductive health education for minors be the answer for government to be able to deliver basic services to more of its people?  Isn't providing quality public education and livelihood opportunities better alternatives so the youth will be spared from early parenthood and teen marriages?  In my more than five years serving in a depressed area, I found out that teen pregnancies were common to out-of-school youths and to those with absentee parents.  H. G. Bohn's "A Handbook of Proverbs" encapsulates it with this verse:  "An idle brain is the devil's workshop."  On the other hand, lack of better employment opportunities for the majority of the people make "orphans" of our youth.  Parents are forced by circumstance to seek better opportunities elsewhere to make both ends meet leaving children with little or no guidance at all. 

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