You are on page 1of 26

Introduction Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth.

" ---genesis 9:7 Millions of Filipinos consider themselves as being catholic. Catholicism has played and is still playing a very important role in the development of the society. Our fundamental law even recognizes the importance of the catholic faith. As stated in the preamble of the 1987 constitution: We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.1 The act that will be the central topic of our paper, has been debated on, edited, summarized, proof read and amended so many times that the final act that was passed, was simply a piece-meal effort to please the church and other religious institutions. This act has been by the Supreme Court for one-hundred twenty for the very fact that it still remains controversial. Our fundamental law recognizes that there is a separation between the church and the state. According section 6 of Article 3 of the current constitution, The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable. 2 The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 is a very relevant and a very controversial. We recognize that. The goal of this paper is not to discredit the church or any religious institutions but we, the writers of the paper, strongly believe that there are some

1 2

members of the society that need to see that there are pertinent and instrumental points of this said act. We are not pro-abortion or anti-life. We just see a need, as citizens of the Philippines, to have a different perception on this very contentious yet appropriate law. Anti-Life and Pro-Abortion We begin with the question, Where does life begin? The Constitution states: The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government.3 From this, we can conclude that the State believes that life starts at conception. On the other hand, the Church believes that life begins at fertilization. Fertilization and conception are two scientific terms that are synonymous to each other, therefore we must distinguish these two very similar terms and know their respective meanings. According to the Philippine Medical Association, life or conception begins at fertilization, at that moment where there is fusion or union of the sperm and the egg.
Right after fertilization, there is no way one could alter the natural and normal outcome other than a human being until natural death. The fertilized egg, now a human being, unstoppably grows by itself and, there is no other path it takes but to evolve into a full mature human being. There is no human embryologist in the world who would deny that life begins at fertilization. Some secular debaters may insist but not a single human embryologist will ever say that human life is, at some early stage, only a potential human life. Therefore, human development begins at fertilization. Thus, any scheme, procedure or medication that destroys the fertilized egg or the embryo is called abortion. Even the official U.S. Public Health Service Policy states: All the measures which

impair the viability of the zygote anytime between the instant of fertilization and the completion of labor constitute, in the strict sense, procedures for inducing abortion. 4

Fertilization and implantation are part of the stages of conception. While fertilization is the union of the sperm and the egg, implantation is the attachment of the fertilized egg or blastocyst to the wall or lining of the uterus at the start of pregnancy. Fertilization is sacred because it is at this stage that conception, and thus human life, begins. Human lives are sacred from the moment of conception, and that destroying those new lives is never licit, no matter what the purported good outcome would be. In terms of biology and human embryology, a human being begins immediately at fertilization and after that, there is no point along the continuous line of human embryogenesis where only a potential human being can be posited. Any philosophical, legal, or political conclusion cannot escape this objective scientific fact. The scientific evidence supports the conclusion that a zygote is a human organism and that the life of a new human being commences at a scientifically well defined moment of conception.5 RA 10354, otherwise known as the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, is anti-life because it violates the religious doctrine in the Philippines, a Catholicdominated nation. Contraceptives are not an assurance to prevent fertilization, for medical studies show that some of these contraceptives are abortifacient. In this age of modern technology, the human body seems to be that of a machine maintained with spare parts. Contraception treats the womens body as though there were something wrong with it. The health risks of contraception to women are also considerable; the list of side effects is long and includes high blood pressure, strokes, and increased incidence of some forms of cancer. More importantly, many forms of contraceptives work by causing early term abortion. It works by

4 5

preventing the fertilized egg, already considered alive and a life, from implanting in the wall of the uterus. It is anti-life because it treats fertility as some dreadful condition that needs to be guarded against. It treats babies as burdens and not gifts. The word contraception itself means against the beginning of new life. Contraceptives convey the message that while sexual intercourse is desired, there is no desire for procreation.6 RA 10354 is also anti-life because it is founded on the assumption that the poor should be encouraged to have fewer children because society in general and the State in particular are unable to help them maintain their large family sizes. Other societal failures that cannot be blamed on the birth of babies are the lack of access to credit by the poor, the low quality of basic education, policy biases in favor of large businesses against the small and medium-scale enterprises, and the continuing waste of resources through corruption at the lower levels of the government bureaucracy.7 Contrary to claims by RH bill proponents in Congress that abortion is not mentioned, the bill specifically mentions abortion in Sec. 4 in its definition of terms. It lists as the fourth element of reproductive health care the prevention of abortion and management of post -abortion complications. You may say, It prevents abortion, so whats wrong? But why must management of post-abortion complications be part of reproductive health? Abortion is a crime. Why must the RH bill, now a law, specifically mention management of post-abortion complications? It specifies abortion as the cause of the complication. What this does is that it sets apart induced, illegal, morally wrong, criminal abortion as a procedure or cause necessitating management. Why not just make it a more general provision of emergency obstetric care to everyone who needs it? The very fact that abortion is specified as the cause of the complication

6 7

means that the RH law condones abortion and gives it special treatment. Abortion is murder of the unborn baby and a grievous sin before God. It is the shedding of innocent blood. It is a crime under Philippine laws.8 IUD and contraceptive pills are abortifacients, and the RH law allows these to be sold and accessed legally thus potentially contributing to the rise of abortions. Its proponents contend that it damages the sperm before it meets with the ovum and thus it prevents pregnancy. Experience from practitioners, however, reveal that still, pregnancy is not absolutely prevented by the IUD and thus, abortion is still a possibility. This is rather concerning in connection with the use of contraceptive. A practicing physician could easily discover that a contraceptive exerts its effect by suppressing hormones called the gonadotropins which in turn prevents ovulation. But its other effect may include changes in the endometrium or changes in the internal lining of the womb and thus reducing the likelihood of implantation. Thus, in the rural areas when the period of ovulation is not determined with accuracy, the use of contraceptive would certainly result to abortion.9 Artificial Contraception Artificial contraception eliminates the possibility of a procreative element. According to Mosignor Cuizon, If we are not open to life, the sexual intercourse would just be for human satisfaction and pleasure. When you engage in a sexual act, that means you are ready to take responsibility. The natural law is procreation. By encouraging artificial contraception, the RH law puts the family in a precarious situation. Studies have shown that countries which promote artificial contraception consequently have higher incidence of adultery, divorce, premarital sex,

8 9

teenage pregnancy, and abortion.10 There are several provisions in the law that states that devices, commodities, and supplies are to be promoted, made available, and provided. This already shows the bias towards artificial family planning methods which would have need of these supplies. Money is to be given for these supplies and commodities to make them available while no mention of money being spent on teaching people, which natural family planning methods require. The mention of the natural family planning is just a palliative in the law with no real intention of promoting it. Instead, there is great intent to promote the devices.11 The following are scientific facts on the use of artificial contraceptives: The pill and the IUD kill babies. Human life begins at fertilization, when the male sperm penetrates the female egg. The pill has a secondary post-fertilization effect, according to the American Medical Association. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has declared that the intrauterine device brings about destruction of the early embryo.12 The pill causes cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2007 reported that the pill causes cancer, giving it the highest level of carcinogenicity, the same as cigarettes and asbestos. It also causes stroke, high blood, cardiovascular diseases, and significantly increases the risk of heart attacks.13 Condom has been blamed for the increase in the incidence of HIV/AIDS in countries that resorted to it, notably Africa and Thailand.14 It leads to higher abortion rate. Dr. Malcolm Potts, abortion and contraceptive advocate and past medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said that
10 11 12 13 14

As people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate. Dr. Judith Bury of the Brook Advisory Center chimed in a few years later that There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might expect, the provision of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate. The reason for this is twofold. First, contraceptives fail a certain percentage of the time. A 5% failure rate means that 5% of the couples using a certain method will be pregnant at the end of the year. Second, the use of contraceptives gives a false sense of security that leads to risky sexual behavior. The result is more unplanned pregnancies and hence more abortions.15 Maternal health requires access to healthcare facilities and reproductive health education, not contraceptives. Improved access to basic health care, nutrition, medicines, and technology are the additional means by which maternal mortality and morbidity can be reduced and eliminated. The mandate of the RH law to increase obstetric care and skilled birth attendants, is not emphasized. The causes of maternal mortality and morbidity are limited: hemorrhage, infection, obstructed labor, and hypertensive disorders. These causes can be significantly addressed through investment in skilled birth attendants and provision of health education for women and families. The United Nations Population Fund or UNFPA states that three-fourths of all maternal deaths could be averted by the presence of skilled birth attendants. By contrast, family planning is likely to reduce maternal deaths only by one-third. The RH laws current provisions for maternal care are important, but underdeveloped in comparison with its other parts.16 Immoral Surgical Procedures

15 16

One of the main contentions of the Catholic Church against the Reproductive Health Bill is that it seeks to legalize certain medical procedures like tubal ligation, abortion and vasectomy which are considered by the church to be immoral. According to the church, the procedures mentioned above should only be done for serious medical and health reasons. The Catholic Church has always been a staunch opposition of abortion. They believe that life begins at conception. Conception is defined as the process of becoming pregnant involving fertilization or implantation or both.17 In essence, life, for the Catholic Church begins when the sperm and egg meet. This is generally called the fertilization stage. The Reproductive Health Act does not define clearly when the protection of life begins. Although it mentions that abortion is a crime it does not state explicitly that human life is to be protected upon conception as stated in the Constitution. This ambiguity can provide a loophole for contraceptives that prevent the implantation of the fertilized ovum. The prevention of implantation of the fertilized ovum is abortion. We cannot prevent overt abortions by doing hidden abortions. It is a fallacy to think that abortions can be prevented by promoting contraception. Contraception is intrinsically evil. 18 Surgical procedures to essentially make the person barren and unable to produce an offspring are of course, opposed by the Church. According to an Encyclical letter entitled Humane Vitae by Pope Paul VI, Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beingsand especially the young, who are so exposed to temptationneed incentives to
17 18

keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.19 Overpopulation and Poverty There is growing debate among economists, demographers and policy makes on how population growth affects economic development. There are three theories that have been created because of this. There is the pessimistic theory, which suggests that population growth can be detrimental to the economic development of a country. The second theory is called the Optimistic theory, which suggests that population growth can be beneficial depending on circumstance. The most recent theory is the neutralist view that suggests that rapid p opulation growth neither promotes nor impeded economic growth.
20

Most economic analysts has

examined the statistical correlation between population and economic growth and found little significant connection.21 The Church subscribes to the neutralist view. They believe that the reason why there is a great percentage of the citizenry living in poverty is because there are problems with government corruption and that there is an equal distribution of wealth and resources.
22

Population control is not an ingredient for high economic growth, as found by the

2008 Commission on Growth and Development headed by Nobel Prize winner Michael Spence.

19 20 21 22

The growth factors are: governance, openness to knowledge, stable finances, market allocation, investment and savings.23 Sex education Sex education in the Philippines is still considered as taboo by most schools and educators. One of the pertinent arguments of the Catholic Church against the reproductive health act is that the said act/law mandates that reproductive health education should be taught to students for grade V to forth year high school without considering their sensitive and moral innocence. The constitution recognizes the right of the parents to be the primary educators of their children. In fact in Article 2, Sec. 12 of the 1987 constitution states that The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.
24

In short, it is the parents duty and responsibility to inform their children about

the practice or the non-practice of using artificial or natural contraceptives. Understandably, the parents know their children more than anyone else and they will have an idea when their children are mature enough to receive that kind of information. Today, there are few schools, catholic and non-Catholic, have integrated sex and reproductive health education in their curriculums. According the Department of Education (DepEd), Education officials insist that the bishops have nothing to worry about because the DepEd is open to deleting portions of the teaching modules that the Church finds offensive.
23 24 25

25

Also, according to the DepEd, they have

been teaching sex and reproductive health for a very long time now but in a very clinical manner. The Catholic Church has not opposed this, however, if there will a be whole subject dedicated to the teaching of sex and reproductive health, they believe that it will degrade the morality of the student and would eventually lead to the loss of innocence. A. Abortion is Illegal

It has been a firm belief not only of Christianity but of all religions in the world that abortion is illegal. No sane person will cause nor aid in expelling and depriving an unborn child of living in this world except in extraordinary circumstances such as, but not limited to, threats in the life of the mother. In fact, abortion is a criminal offense as stated in the Revised Penal Code. Abortion has been used as a weapon and shield in attacking the legality and validity of RA 10354. It has been regarded as a beast straight out of hell that will undermine everything that it stands for. However, the Church refuses to see that nowhere in RA 10354 did it advance abortion. The law simply provides that facilities will be furnished for the care of women who had already undergone abortion. This can be gleaned in the guiding principles of RA 10354 which states that: While this Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortive complications and all other complications arising from pregnancy , labour and delivery and related issues shall be treated and counselled in a humane, nonjudgmental and compassionate manner in accordance with law and medical ethics. 26

26

RA 10354, Sec.3, (J) Guiding principles

This is in support of the fact that the central elements of reproductive health and population development are gender equality and women empowerment.27 Moreover, it explicitly used the word non- abortifacient methods which shall be adapted by the couple. In fact, it encourages modern natural methods of family planning especially the Billings Ovulation Method.28 RA 10354 also respects the religious convictions of every couple in choosing their ideal family size. No one is compelled to observe any family planning method if it is against their will. It only serves as a guide for couples in deciding their preferred number of children. In fact, the main focus is on the health, rights and choices of every Filipino family. It can be inferred from the title of the law itself the bountiful advantages Filipinos can gain from RA 10354 or The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. It enlightens Filipinos on responsible parenthood. It is defined as the will and ability of a parent to respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children. It is likewise a shared responsibility between parents to determine and achieve the desired number of children, spacing and timing of their children according to their own family life aspirations, taking into account psychological preparedness, health status, socio-cultural and economic concerns consistent with their religious convictions.
29

This is designed for those economically deprived sector of the

country especially those identified through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) and other government measures of identifying marginalization. In short, Republic Act (RA) 10354 would provide women the choice to determine the number of their children, give teenage protection from unplanned pregnancies and educate citizens about sexual health.
27 28

RA 10354, Sec. 3 (k) RA 10354 Sec 3 (f) 29 RA 10354, Sec. 2 (v)

Another reason why the Church opposed the said law can be summarized in sayings such as that poverty is a blessing or that God will provide. Said lines have tarried and overused. Adhering to this kind of mentality and mediocrity will not make one productive. One cannot expect that his/her problem will be solved automatically without even trying to find solution. RA 10354 is one of the possible solutions on the problem of poverty. The Department of Health shall implement programs prioritizing full access of poor and marginalized women as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization to reproductive health care, services, products and programs. It shall provide such programs, technical support, including capacity building and monitoring. 30 It shall also be noted that RA 10354 is not a semblance of statutes pertaining to population control. Such is but incidental to its implementation. This is explicitly stated in Section 3 (l) which reads, There shall be no demographic or population targets and mitigation, promotion and/or stabilization of the population growth rate is incidental to the advancement of reproductive health. If RA10354 is properly implemented, it can help lessen, if not eradicate, the problems of poverty and overpopulation among Filipino families.

B. Information Dissemination

30

RA 10354 ,Sec 11

RA 10354 aims to address the needs of people throughout their life cycle. Toward this end, rules and regulations are specifically enforced to ensure the widespread dissemination of information regarding RA 10354. This is in line with the recognition of an individuals right to make informed decisions, which is central to the exercise of any right. 31It shall not be subjected to any form of coercion and must be fully guaranteed by the State, like the right itself. It has been stated in Section 3 (e) of the law that the State shall promote and provide information and access , without bias, to all methods of family planning, including effective and natural and modern methods which have been proven medically safe , legal, non-abortifacient and effective in accordance with scientific and evidence based medical research standards such as those registered and approved by the FDA for the poor and marginalized as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization: Provided , that the State shall also provide funding support to promote modern natural methods of family planning, especially the Billings Ovulation Method, consistent with the needs of acceptors and religious convictions. It can be gleaned with this section that in the dissemination of information, it considers two factors: (1) the needs of the acceptors which means that the preferred as well as advised method of family planning shall be used; (2) the religious convictions of the acceptor shall also be looked into considering that individuals vary from one another. In line with this, programs that (1) enable individuals and couples to have the number of children they desire with due consideration to the health, particularly of women and the resources available and affordable to them and in accordance with the existing laws, public morals and their religious convictions shall be promoted; (2) achieve equitable allocation and utilization of resources; (3) ensure effective partnership among the national government, local
31

SEC3, (a)

governmental units (LGUs) and private sector in the design, implementation, coordination, integration, monitoring and evaluation of people-centered programs to enhance the quality of life and environmental protection; (4) conduct studies to analyze demographic trends including demographic dividends from sound population policies towards sustainable human development in keeping with born and unborn and the promotion and protection of womens reproductive rights and health; and (5) conduct scientific studies to determine the safety and efficacy of alternative medicines and methods of reproductive health care development. In short, the law aims to address the priority needs of women, the poor and the marginalized. Public health care service providers are given the strict task to observe and enforce the said law. Public health care service provider refers to: (1) public health care institution, which is duly licensed and accredited and devoted primarily, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of individuals suffering from illness, disease, injury, disability or deformity , or in need of obstetrical or other medical and nursing care; (2) public health care professional , who is a doctor and nursing care; (3) public health worker engaged in the delivery of health care services; or (4) barangay health worker who has undergone training programs under any accredited government and NGO and who voluntarily renders primarily health care services in the community after having accredited to function as such by local health board in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH). The DOH shall be responsible for disseminating information and providing training programs to the LGUs. The latter shall in turn be responsible for the training of BHWs and other barangay volunteers on the promotion of reproductive health. The DOH shall also provide them with medical supplies and equipment needed by BHWs to carry out their functions effectively. 32

32

Sec 16

In line with this, no marriage license shall be issued by the Local Civil Registrar unless the applicants present a Certificate of Compliance issued for free by the local Family Planning Office certifying that they had duly received adequate instructions and information on responsible parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding and infant nutrition. If these programs and measures abovementioned are properly and honestly observed, RA 10354 will surely be beneficial to Filipino families and also for women empowerment. C. Sex Education

One of the most arguable and controversial provisions of Republic Act No. 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2102 is its mandate regarding the rule of conducting sex education among youths. The said law is informally known as the Reproductive Health Law. The Reproductive Health Law directs that the State shall provide ageand development- appropriate reproductive health education to adolescents which shall be taught by adequately trained teachers informal and nonformal educational system and integrated relevant subjects.33 In connection, adolescents was identified by the same law as those individuals who are young people between the ages of ten (10) to nineteen (19) years who are in transition from childhood to adulthood.34

In addition, the sex education shall include but not limited to the following: 1. Values formation

33 34

RA No. 10354, Sec. 14 Id., Sec. 4(b)

2. Knowledge and skills in self-protection against discrimination 3. Sexual abuse and violence against women and children and other forms of gender based violence and teenage pregnancy 4. Physical, social and emotional changes in adolescents 5. Womens rights and childrens rights 6. Responsible teenage behaviour 7. Gender and development 8. Responsible parenthood Likewise, none of the subjects enumerated below could logically conclude that the sex education program mandated by the Reproductive Health Law would promote promiscuity in any way. Further, the law itself made it clear that the Department of Education has the power to formulate a curriculum which shall be used by public schools and may be adopted by private schools.35 Moreover, only after consultations with parents-teachers-community associations, school officials and other interest groups will the appropriate course content, scope and methodology in each educational level shall be allowed.36 In sum, anything that will be taught to the young students are filtered not only by the Department of Education but by the community as well. The young and fresh minds of the adolescents are very well protected through this process. Moreover, the law itself qualified the reproductive health education program as age- and development- appropriate, it did not just state sex education. In connection, this qualification strongly shows that the law prevents any possibility of promiscuity and that intention of the law is only for the young Filipinos to benefit from this education program.

35 36

RA No. 10354, Sec. 14 Ibid.

Lastly, Dr. Benjamin Spock who is a famous American pedestrian and world renowned author of Baby and Child Care which throughout its first 52 years of publication was the second-best-selling-book, next to Bible, believes that sex education does not encourage students to get involve in sex. Dr. Spocks ideas about children influenced several generations of parents to be more flexible and affectionate with their children, and not to treat them as individuals. According to him, many parents are afraid that talking about sex with their teenagers will be taken as a permission for the teen to have sex, he continued by citing that the more the children learn about sexuality from talking with their parents and teachers and reading accurate books, the less they feel compelled to find out for themselves.37

Sex education or, as the RA No. 10354 uses it, age- and development- appropriate reproductive health education will be taught to all Grade four (4) to fourth year highschool students. According to the Department of Education, this will initially benefit no less than 7.5 million adolescents both coming from public and private educational institutions.38 How exactly will Filipino adolescences benefit from sex education?

The basic objectives of this kind of education, from the first place, are the following enumeration:
37

Hidalgo, L. (2012, February 19). Dr. Spocks Baby and Child Care at 65. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14534094 38 Esguerra, C. (2010, December 12). 7.5M adolescent students seen to benefit sex education via RH Bill. Philippine Daily Inquierer. Retrieved from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/328019/7-5m-adolescent-students-seen-to-benefitfrom-sex-education-via-rh-bill

1. To help the young minds to understand the body structure of men and women. 2. To acquire the knowledge about birth. 3. To establish and accept the role and responsibility of the childrens own gender by acquiring the knowledge of sex. 4. To understand the differences and similarities between two genders in term of body and mind that will set up a foundation for the future development in their acquaintance with friends and lovers and their interpersonal relationship.39

Sex education is a kind of holistic education. It teaches an individual about selfacceptance and the attitude and skill of interpersonal relationship. It also helps an individual to cultivate a sense of responsibility towards others as well as oneself.40

In our country, from a young age, children are exposed to sexual imagery and language in their environment, and their bodies are experiencing and developing sexual responsiveness. Curiosity of every child is inevitable and it is developing, and the answers from their questions must be clarified to them. Children then must be taught how to cope and handle their own feeling, use of drugs and urges.

39

Sex Education. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.studenthealth.gov.hk/english/resources/resources _bl/files/lf_se_fse.pdf 40 Ibid.

When children reach adolescence, it is largely a confusing period as both physical and cognitive aspects of sexual expression begin to come out, and sexuality begins to be a significant part of relationship experiences. In a sense, there should be a guiding medium to the growing minds of the Filipino children. The problem with parents as teachers of reproductive health education program to their children is the simple fact that parents are not sex education experts. Being a parent does not mean that such parent is a sex education expert per se. People who will engage as mentors of reproductive health education are very essential especially in the present time since children and youths have full access to materials available around their environment that could trigger their curiosity regarding their sexual alignment.

Thus, sex education must be allowed to be handled by a group of individuals who are trained and have experience in the actual teaching the reproductive health education. In addition, there must be a set of rules and guidelines to be followed since the sensitivity of the issue and the subject is wherein the State is highly interested. Through this rules, the actual implementation of the reproductive health education is regulated for the protection of the children. This what the Republic Act No 10354 provides. It mandates the education of Filipino children to guide and prepare them for the proper development. Further, it narrates designed to regulate the execution of the provisions for the assurance that the young Filipinos are protected.

In the Philippines, young students do not get even the most basic sexuality education and that misinformation about sex and its consequences remains common. Indeed, implementing comprehensive sexuality education programs remain a challenge in the country.41

Family members have always played a vital role in the physical, emotional and sexual development of young minds. However, there is increasing acceptance of the notion that, in todays world, these sources of education are insufficient and that more organized, formal approaches are called for.42 There is also a growing advocacy movement for the recognition of comprehensive sexuality information and education as a basic right, including in this movement is the United Nations.43 Still, sexuality education of any kind is not available in many regions, adolescents knowledge of sexual and reproductive health is not detailed, and myths are common. For example, many adolescents think a young woman cannot get pregnant the first time she has sexual intercourse or if she has sex standing up.44

In addition, no study comprehensive programs to date has found evidence that providing young people with sexual and reproductive health information results in increased sexual risk-

41

Boonstra, H. (2011) Advancing Sexuality Education in Developing Countries: Evidence and Implication. Retrieved from http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/14/3/gpr140317.html 42 Supra.
43

United Nations, Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education. ( July 23, 2010). Retrieved from http://www.right-toeducation.org/sites/r2e.gn.apc.org/files/SR%20Education%20ReportHuman%20Right%20to%20Sexual%20E ducation.pdf.
44

Biddlecom, A et al. (2007). Protecting the Next Generation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Learning from Adolescents to Prevent HIV and Unintended Preganancy. Guttmacher Institte. Retrieved from http://www.guttmacher.o rg/pubs/2007/12/12/PNG_monograph.pdf.

taking. These studies also demonstrate that it is possible, within the same programs, to delay sexual intercourse. 45

Last point, it is absolutely the truth that no one really knows if giving reproductive health education will reduce, if not end, AIDS, teenage pregnancy, population explosion and other related problems. However, silence on sexual matters does not appear to be an option either ideologically or practically. Ideologically, ignorance is no advantage when others have knowledge, especially knowledge misused, and people who know nothing of sex can take risks unknowingly and be taken advantage of,46

45 46

Boonstra, H. (2011) Advancing Sexuality Education in Developing Countries: Evidence and Implication. Cornog, M. (1996) For Sex Education, See Librarian. Retrieved from http://books.google.com.ph/boo ks?id=xBpGEccj078C&pg=PA135&lpg=PA135&dq=MARTHA+CORNOG,+For+Sex+Education,+See+Librarian&source =bl&ots=D4MuVIWxHL&sig=Cjic2ePTuI9bzuDTDrclxFyO5Rk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UJtbUevFGqPliAfL4YHICA&ved=0CD4 Q6AEwAg

D. Role of the Government

By virtue of the declaration of State policies under Section 12, Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, it is the role of the State to protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution and equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. In addition the State is entrusted also with the duty to protect and promote the right to health of women especially mother in particular and of the people in general, and to instill health consciousness among them. In addition, by reason that the family is the natural and fundamental unit of society, the State shall advance the right of families and the people to balanced and healthful environment in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature

. These principles and guarantees proclaimed by the Constitution are all incorporated in Republic Act No 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2102. The said Act declares the States respect for protection and fulfilment of reproductive health and rights for the purpose of promotion of the welfare of every individual particularly couples, adult individuals, women and adolescents. It also declares that it is essential that there should be effective reproductive health care services to secure the maternal and child health, the health of the unborn and sound replacement rate.

Although the Philippine Constitution declares its interest for protection of children, women and family, the reality is opposite. The actual circumstances of the present time are not in consonant with the declaration of the supreme law. According to the National Statistic Office, the Philippine maternal mortality rate remains high at 162 deaths for every 100,00 live births.

Moreover, the Commission on Population issued hat ten women die every 24 hours from pregnancy or other child-related. In connection 29 infants of every 1,000 are born alive but die before reaching one year of age, and 40 of young children out of a thousand die before reaching five years of age. 47

Moreover, there is 17.3% unmet need for family planning. Those belonging to the poorest class have the highest unmet need for family planning at 26.7%, consisting of those who want space their pregnancies and those who want to limit the number of their children.48 In addition, regardless of the majority of the population of the country are Roman Catholic, 97% of the Filipinos believe it is important to have the ability to control ones fertility or to plan ones family.49

Further, according to the recently-launched National Demographic and Health Survey, one in three births is either unwanted or mistimed. Plus, over half of married women age 15-49 do not want another child and 82% of married women want either to space their births or to limit childbearing altogether. It should be notes that many adolescents are sexually active and are not practicing any contraceptive method. As a matter of fact there are 47 births of every 1000 women aged 15-19. Also, the knowledge of many adolescents on reproductive infections , and HIV/AIDS is at superficial level. Adolescents should know the risks of early sex such as the

47

Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development Bill. (2012). Retrieved from http://pcw.gov.ph/wpla/reproductive-health-bill 48 Ibid. 49 Ibid.

different kinds of reproductive tract infections and the possibility of acquiring sexual transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS through unprotected and unsafe sex.50

Regardless of the existence of the circumstances, there is no measure other than the Republic Act No. 10354 that directly protects and empowers the women and youth in the matters of reproductive health. The Reproductive Health Bill provides option to response in the problems relating to reproductive health. It is the better option for the State to choose than keeping silence to the actual facts which are the realities of our times.

Likewise the Department of Health is declared as the lead agency for the implementation of the Act. The mentioned agency shall fully and efficiently implement the reproductive health care program, ensure peoples access to medically safe, non-abortifacient, legal, quality and affordable reproductive health goods and services and perform such other functions necessary.51

50

Padilla, C. (2010, August 6). Reasons why we need RH Bill. ABS-CBN News.com. Retrieved from http://www.abscbnnews.com/insights/08/16/10/reasons-why-we-need-rh-law 51 RA No. 10354, Sec 19.