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Class suit filed vs DepEd over sex education in public schools

MANILA, Philippines - A class suit against the teaching of sex education in public schools was filed yesterday by several individuals led by losing Ang Kapatiran senatorial candidate and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines legal division chief lawyer Jo Aurea Imbong.

The petition for prohibition with a prayer for preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order was filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.

Education Secretary Mona Valisno and Undersecretary Ramon Bacani were named respondents.

The Department of Education (DepEd) expressed surprise over the filing of the class suit against its officials, and said Valisno has yet to receive a copy of the complaint.

In the 27-page complaint, the petitioners asked the court to stop the teaching of sex education and declare DepEd Memorandum No. 261 series 2005 as null and void.

“Is DepEd taking sex lightly? That sex is a picnic?... In introducing DepEd Memo 261, is DepEd planning to start a sex revolution in the Philippines as America and Europe did in 1960s?” the petitioners said.

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Imbong is also among the group that earlier filed a case against condom advertisements, including those featuring action star Robin Padilla.

According to the petitioners, the teaching of sex education in schools violates “the primary right of parents to the development of the moral character of their children” and “the right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies affecting them.”

They said the memorandum was promulgated without the participation of families.

They also claimed the policy was violating marriage and the foundation of the family; the right of couples to establish a family based on their religious beliefs; and the sanctity of family life.

Imbong said the teaching of sex education should be the sole role of the parents and should not be “usurped” by the schools.

Asked whether Filipino parents are ready or well-equipped to undertake such role, she said: “They know the personalities of their children... Sex education should not be a lecture.”

Imbong also claimed the DepEd memorandum was a usurpation of legislative authority, saying there is no existing law mandating the teaching of sex education.

“We want the prohibition of sex education in public and private schools. (This policy) is arousing the sexuality (of the children) at a wrong time,” she said.

In the class suit, the petitioners also said: “Why the need to train our young kids as early as nine years old about reducing fertility, preventing HIV/AIDS and the reproductive health components like family planning services, condoms, IUDs and contraceptive pills?”

Morally right

CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) chairman Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto said in a press conference yesterday that incoming President Benigno Aquino III should do what is morally right in dealing with the issue of sex education.

“Being a Christian, Aquino should do what is according to moral law, according to the dignity and rights of every Filipino,” Aniceto said.

Dr. Ligaya Acosta, Human Life International (HLI) Asia-Oceania executive director, said Aquino promised during the presidential campaign that he would fight corruption in the country, but there are other concerns that need to be addressed as well.

“We are with you in your fight against corruption, but there is a worse corruption... the corruption of moral values,” Acosta said.

“Indeed sex educators who want to corrupt and destroy the minds of our children have chosen their battlefield well – the school system which is a natural indoctrination ground, and they have correctly identified the Achilles heel of our youth, their sexual instinct,” she said.

The doctor added that sex education is being taught during the students’ “years of innocence” which is between five to 12 years old.

She believes that if children would be allowed to develop interests other than learning about sex and their bodies, they would become more well-rounded adults. – With Rainier Allan Ronda, Marvin Sy

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