BALER, Aurora — The provincial government, the first local government unit (LGU) in the country to pass a comprehensive Reproductive Health Care Code which is now being duplicated in other provinces nationwide, will introduce in partnership with the local Department of Education (DepEd) sex education in all public schools in this capital town.
Vice Gov. Annabelle Tangson told The STAR that sex education will be included in the curriculum during the next school year, particularly for Grades 5 and 6 classes up to college. She said that the new policy was spelled out by Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo in her six-point agenda codenamed HEALTH which stands for health, education, agriculture, livelihood, tourism and environmental protection and human resource development.
"We will institutionalize it, starting with those in the intermediate grades," she said, noting that various religions, except the conservative Roman Catholic Church is supportive of the provincial government’s efforts to implement the provisions of the Aurora Reproductive Health Code to promote family planning and responsible parenthood.
Tangson said the provincial leadership sees nothing wrong with teaching sex education to the youths, particularly as a way of addressing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immuno deficiency syndrome (AIDS). "Our position is that if you are teaching the digestive system in the elementary classes, then why not teach the reproductive system also? We’ll be hypocrites if we don’t," she said.
Tangson said the integration of sex education in the curriculum of local schools is HIV/AIDS-supportive, meaning, it is intended to prevent the spread of — and raise awareness on — AIDS in line with recent studies that the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country have increased at a rate higher than what is officially recorded. "Di mo naman basta tuturuan ng sexual intercourse ang mga bata (You will not just teach kids how to engage in sexual intercourse)," she clarified.
She added that based on surveys, there are teen pregnancies and teen mothers who usually resort to abortion.
The vice governor bewailed that there is no national policy on reproductive health although there is a pending bill in the House, House Bill 3773, sponsored by Rep. Edcel Lagman.
In contrast, Aurora has taken the lead in promoting reproductive health with the passage of the ARHC which is now being duplicated in the provinces of Ifugao, Masbate and Mt. Province.