Women's group bats for sex ed program
- Reinir Padua () - June 30, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Women’s rights advocates yesterday expressed their intent to intervene in a case filed against the Department of Education (DepEd) for implementing its sex education program.

Lawyer Clara Rita Padilla and Anita Visbal, both from the group EnGendeRights, filed their opposition to the case before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 88.

“The DepEd must be allowed to continue conducting its pilot modules on (adolescent reproductive health or ARH) through its Life Skills-Based Education Program. Any disruption of the – program will prove to be detrimental to the physical, mental and psychological well-being of children and adolescents in the pilot schools where the program will be implemented,” they said.

According to Padilla and Visbal, the court should allow them to intervene “to protect their rights and the rights of children and adolescents to education and information and to empower children and adolescents and capacitate them according to their evolving capacities as recognized by the Convention of the Rights of the Child of which the Philippines is a state party and is duty-bound to fulfill.”

They said the sex education program is “reasonable” and promotes public health as well as the rights of children and adolescents.

Individuals led by losing Ang Kapatiran senatorial candidate Jo Aurea Imbong last week filed a class suit against the teaching of sex education in public schools. It was a petition for prohibition with a prayer for preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order filed before the Quezon City RTC.

DepEd Secretary Mona Valisno and Undersecretary Ramon Bacani were named respondents. The petitioners asked the court to stop the teaching of sex education and declare DepEd Memorandum No. 261 series 2005 as null and void.

But Padilla and Visbal said the Quezon City RTC does not have jurisdiction over DepEd, which is located in Pasig. They also added that none of the petitioners have the legal personality to file the case since none of them have children who are enrolled in the public schools were the program is being pilot tested.

They also said “since the DepEd issued Memo Circular 261 on Sept. 8, 2005, the DepEd has been implementing these ARH modules… A petition for prohibition must be filed within 60 days from notice of the assailed order/acts. Petitioner’s complaint for prohibition, having been filed way past the 60-day period to file a complaint for prohibition, must be dismissed outright.”

ANG KAPATIRAN BUT PADILLA AND VISBAL CONVENTION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DEPED EDUCATION JO AUREA IMBONG LAWYER CLARA RITA PADILLA AND ANITA VISBAL LIFE SKILLS-BASED EDUCATION PROGRAM MEMO CIRCULAR QUEZON CITY
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