Philippine Society. Politics. Rants. Critiques.

Let's Talk About Sex (Education)

| Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sex is everywhere. From the ads on the TV to the “hot scenes” in the movies; from the radio to the cyberspace; the information highways are clogged with sex.

In the Philippines, sex poses a large number of problems. Here's what I mean: According to a UP Population Institute Survey, 23 percent of Filipinos ages 15-24 engaged in pre-marital sex in 2002, up from 18 percent in 1994. The prevalence of high-risk sexual behaviors among adolescents rose from 20 percent in 1994 to 27 percent in 2002. Further, this age group now accounts for 17 percent of all induced abortions in the nation. There are close to 4,000 people with AIDS in the Philippines (not to mention the non-documented cases).

Many people see sex education in schools as solution to address these alarming realities. Sex Education or sexuality education, according to the United Nations Educational, and Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is “an age-appropriate, culturally relevant approach to teaching about sex and relationships by providing sexually accurate, realistic, non-judgmental information”. It provides “opportunities to explore one’s own values and attitudes and to build decision-making; communication; and risk-reduction skills about sexuality”.

Sex education seems not about sex per se yet it was scrapped after heavy CBCP opposition four years ago. Now that it was revived, many people (CBCP still) are against the implementation of the sexuality education program in the Philippines. These are their major points of contention:

1. Sex education doesn’t belong in schools but the SOLE responsibility of the parents.

2. Sex education makes PMS acceptable thus would jeopardize our moral fabric.

I personally believe the contrary for it is high time that the lack of knowledge of our young people be addressed in a way that will allow them to make informed decisions. Point-by-point let’s try to break the arguments down.

The CBCP contends that it should be the responsibility of the parents to educate their children about the birds and the bees. But the problem is, it is not our nation’s culture for parents to talk and discuss sex with children.

Professor Corazon Raymundo of the UP Population Institute strongly affirm that the Filipino parents are just too ashamed to bring these matters to light. This obviously would not be effective because inside the home, the word “sex” is a taboo.

Our parents will just say it’s bad and we will know if we will be old enough to face all those things… and there is no further explanation. Many parents do not fully understand the whole concept of what sex is, physically, psychologically, emotionally. Some are too conservative to talk to their children about sex; others do not have the time. But nonetheless these bring nothing but confusion leaving the child clueless scratching his or her head.

Curiousity killed the cat. By the time a student reaches high school, with their testosterones on overdrive, the understanding of sex is warped and fraught with hurt. With parents not teaching their young about their sexuality, kids tend to learn it from watching those on TV, pornographic sites and magazines, or the worst, from their peers.

So what’s the problem then if the children learn these things outside the home (and schools)? Simple. These sources of information about sex can, and are, frequently abused. While it may be a good thing that parents can educate their kids; most are not sex education experts just because they are parents and therefore would necessitate the helping hands of educational institutions.

On their second argument that the program encourages promiscuity, the findings of the studies made by the UNESCO Education surely negated this false notion.

UNESCO’s International Technical Guidance on Sex is a review of a total of 87 sex education programs worldwide: 47 in the United States, 29 in developing countries (like the Philippines). The following are the signifant findings:

1. 37% in all of the sex ed programs had delayed initiation of sex; 27% in developing countries. How about hastened initiation? 0%.

2. In the frequency of sex: 31% in all 87 programs had lower frequency; there was a 3% percent increase BUT there was a 44% lower frequency of sex in developing countries.

3. 44% in all sex education programs had decreased number of partners; 38% in developing countries, and ZERO percent had increased number of partners.

The above findings are apparent. It makes us believe that Dr. Benjamin Spock’s idea is right: “If anything, the more 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”. Just like our school campaigns against drugs, once we get educated, many would not tend to try the real thing.

Sexuality education obviously does not encourage promiscuity nor does it encourage pre-marital sex. It addresses the consequences of such acts, what should be done, as well as the responsibility involved.

We need sex education in our schools I strongly long as there are no "homeworks".

Utang Na Loob: Noynoy-Style

| Saturday, July 10, 2010

After watching last night’s news report by Saksi, the thought of writing an article about “bahala na” attitude came to my mind. As a response to last night’s calling, I penned this entry about this distinct and disastrous Filipino value.

Utang na loob transliterates as, “A debt of one’s inner self” or simply, “debt of gratitude”. In the Philippines, it is an obligation to appropriately repay a person who has done one a favor. It is, what psychologists would call, an “accommodative surface value” which accommodates the demands of the world around him or her.

To give you an illustration (just in case you don’t know what it is), when the family visits the guest in another country, there is some kind of understanding that they will be treated by the guest in a similar manner. It's like tit for tat, but does not go as deep as ours. C’mon, we are that unique.

There is a voluntary assistance which creates an obligation that the receiver must attempt to repay through reciprocal assistance. Even “Wala kang utang na loob!”is a common expression in our evening teleseryes.

But clearly, it is a flawed human value.Because of this, we tend to expect for something in return each time we do something good. It is not a legal debt whose fulfillment is based on an external law; rather, it is a moral debt whose fulfillment is based on something within a person.

Utang na loob steals the genuineness of giving. It is not good however to feel the weight of obligation or worse, allow those who have helped us try to put that weight on our shoulders. This kind of attitude robs the giver and receiver of joy. In our country, this has been a source of a lot of abuses and misuses. It's a burdensome kind of giving that sets people up for disappointment. Having done a good deed toward a stranger or a friend one should not ask or hope for anything in return. The Bible even says in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

According to my studies in Political Science in MSU-IIT, this mindset has a bad effect on our political system, more specifically, during and after elections. Such mindset fosters the so-called "patron-client" system in Philippine politics.

Candidates running for public office need political machinery for support and this require people, i.e. workers, leaders, and padrinos. If and when elected, they would of course would repay the services and assistance of those who helped them achieve their success. This may come in the form of positions in government, grants of government projects, dispensations and the like.

Utang na loob was well illustrated by the Arroyo administration with all her political appointees who more often than not, lack the necessary qualifications for the position. But unfortunately, this also is also reflected in the current administration.

A president can hinder the price increase in services or products but President Noynoy Aquino just did not respond to it. You know why? Because the owner of a power distribution company was his campaign donor during the last elections. Because of this, there had been a five-peso per kilowatthour increase that would be a burden to all the customers.

President Noynoy is a living testament of this attitude that was quite innate in the Filipino politics. (Click here for the list of Noynoy’s appointees). Consider Noynoy’s appointees and you’ll know what I mean:

Current Meralco President Jose "Ping" de Jesus and former public works secretary of PNoy’s mother was named secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications.

Gregory Domingo was named secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry. He was formerly trade and industry undersecretary when Sen. Mar Roxas, PNoy’s runningmate in the Liberal Party, was at the DTI.

University of the Philippines (UP) Economics Professor Cayetano "Dondon" Paderanga was appointed socio-economic planning secretary. Professor Paderanga headed the same agency in the last 3 years (1990-1992) of the first Aquino government.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, a long-time ally and supporter of the Aquino family, stays in his post. He has been foreign affairs secretary of the Arroyo government since 2004, and has expressed his personal support for Aquino in the 2010 elections. Romulo was the late former President Corazon Aquino's budget minister before he ran and won a seat in the Senate in 1987.

Aquino's campaign manager Florencio "Butch" Abad will be secretary of the Department of Budget and Management. His daughter, Julia, will head the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) office.

Cesar Purisima, the one who “donated” 10 MILLION PESOS to fund Aquino’s campaign was given the secretarial post of the Department of Finance.

I think, if only a ‘thank you’ would be enough, Philippine politics will never be viewed positively. Too bad, this attitude, Noynoy's action encourages nothing but nepotism.

Hay naku, “Kabago-bago pa si Noynoy, may UTANG na”.

Top 10 Richest People in the Philippines for 2010

| Wednesday, July 7, 2010
This just came in.
Got this from Forbes Magazine. The Top 10 Richest People in the Philippines are the following:

10 - Eduardo "Danding" Cojuanco, Jr. (San Miguel Corporation). His net worth grew by $100 million to $760 million. Yup, he is Pres. Noynoy Aquino's uncle.

9 - George Ty (Metropolitan Bank founder,Trust Co., G.T. Internation Tower Makati) He has a net worth of $805 million while he earned $290 million since this list by Forbes was made a year earlier.

8 - Beatrice Campos (United Laboratories). She is one of the three women who made it to the Forbes list of riches Filipinos. She has $840 million net worth.

7 - Enrique Razon, Jr. (International Container Terminal Services, Inc.) His company operates in nine countries which include China, Ecuador, and Philippines. His net worth is $975 million.

6 - Tony Tan Caktiong (Jollibee Foods, Inc.) With 1,500 Jollibee stores in the Philippines and abroad, he has a net worth of $980 million.

5 - Andrew Tan (Alliance Global Group, Emperador Distillers, Megaworld Corporation, ) This entrepreneur has a net worth of $1.2 billion from his previous $850 million.

4 - Jaime Zobel de Ayala (CEO of Ayala Land Inc.) He has a net worth of $1.4 billion from $1.2 billion.

3 - John Gokongwei Jr. (JG Summit Holdings, Cebu Pacific Air, Sun Cellular, Universal Robina Corporation, Robinsons Land) He more than doubled his 2009 net worth of $720 million. The 83-year old now has a whopping net worth of $1.5 billion.

2 - Lucio Tan (Philippine National Bank, Asia Brewery, Tanduay Holdings, Fortune Tobacco, Philippine Airlines inc., Eton Properties Philippines) He has a net worth of $2.1 billion, up by four million dollars from last year's list.

1 - Henry Sy (SM Group of Companies) The 85-year old patriarch has a net worth of $5 billion which is far higher than last year's $3.8 billion. Sy ranks 201st in the 2010 list of 1,011 billionaires of the world, that according to Forbes dropped from 1,125 in 2008.

Yaman ng mga 'to ah... Kung tutulong 'tong mga 'to sa mahihirap sa bansa, siguradong wala nang manlilimos sa kalsada.


Poll Result for the question:
Were you satisfied with PNoy's Speech?
50 % answered "Yes. Bravo. Magaling!" 25% answered "Nope. Pinagawa lang 'yan sa Quiapo." 25% answered "I don't care."