An HIV education material was already piloted in 4 public schools in Quezon City and is poised for a general rollout in the city's public schools during the next school year.
The various aspects of sexuality education can also be weaved into school subjects. Reproductive health is already discussed in biology, consent and the importance of abstinence and delaying sex in values formation classes, and the impact of a fast-growing population and its relationship to development issues in economics or social studies.
An opening for The Sex Talk
While the DOH and the DepEd are discussing how schools can be utilized as access points, the interest in the subject presents an opening for parents to talk to their kids about sex.
According to the most recent Young Adult Fertility Survey (YAFS), teens want parents to be their primary source of information of sexuality education.
I remember hearing this and being mind-blown. Our kids actually want us to talk to them about sex! (It also made me think of students who are OFW kids and have one or both parents working abroad. Do they have someone to go to? But that’s for another column.)
As I’ve said many times, The Sex Talk is so much more than what body part goes where. It is about consent, what it is and how it is never to be assumed. It’s about framing the concept of physical love around respect for personal boundaries and space. It is about having the foresight to understand that the sexual decisions you make now are equal to life choices that may have long standing ramifications.
I may also add that it is an opportunity to discuss what feeds our country’s rape culture and every person’s role in preventing it and standing up to it.
The Sex Talk is an on-going open dialogue between parents and their kids and – if you haven’t already – now is good time to start it.
The way I see it, parents, the DOH and the DepEd all have the same goal: prepare our young people to face the future and that includes lessening their risk to anything that will get in the way of achieving their dreams like a mistimed pregnancy or late diagnosis of HIV.
The future of millions of young Filipinos – a future that is full of promise – is at stake.
Have we stepped back to ask them what they think?
Certainly, parents, legislators, and schools can put the quibbling on hold and take a moment to ask our Filipino youth what they want and need when it comes to sexuality education. Then we can all come together with a solution that at its core will truly benefit our young people. – Rappler.com
Ana P. Santos is Rappler’s sex and gender columnist and a Pulitzer Center grantee. In 2014, the Pulitzer Center awarded her the Persephone Miel Fellowship and reported on Filipino migrant mothers in Paris and Dubai.