Manila, Philippines - The Presidential Palace, yesterday ordered the department of education to consult with the Catholic Church before pushing through a plan to introduce sex education to schools in the Philippines.
"The [Deputy] Editor [in the Department of Education] should first consult all sectors before [introducing] sex education in schools," Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza said concerning a plan by Education Secretary Mona Valisno to introduce ‘Adolescent Reproductive Health' subjects to some 150 pilot schools across the country.
Under the planned scheme, to be implemented this school year, sex education will be taught to fifth and sixth grade school children (aged 11 to 12 years), as well as high school children (aged 13 to 17).
The lessons will be interspersed with common subjects such as science, wellness, values education, reading comprehension and even maths.
According to Valisno, incorporating sex education subjects into the traditional curriculum is necessary in light of the alarming number of teenage pregnancies.
The palace has been careful not to offend the influential Catholic Church on politically sensitive socio-economic concerns such as sex education.
Already a plan by the health department to give away free condoms drew condemnation from the church's conservative hierarchy which frowns upon artificial birth control.