Having more students an asset for dev’t, says prelate vs RH bill
The Aquino administration should see the rising number of students in the Philippines as a solution and not a problem that can be solved by population management, the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said.
Continuing the CBCP’s attack on the government-endorsed reproductive health (RH) bill, Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu told Catholic educators on Friday that young Filipinos should be seen as a “positive force for economic and social development,” and not solely as a problem to be solved.
In his homily at the convention of the Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines (CEAP), Palma expressed disappointment at Aquino’s previous statements blaming the lack of educational facilities and materials on the large number of students.
“In education, we give premium to the youth because they are rich… perhaps at present not so much economically but given time and in the future, certainly they are our best asset,” Palma said.
“That is why I feel sad that the administration would consider it a big problem that we have many students. I thought we believed that they are not a big problem because we see in them the solution,” he said.
Palma is also against the mandatory sex education provision in the RH bill, which promotes birth control—both natural and modern methods.
“Instead of teaching students about sex, the government should teach the Bible,” he said.
“We usually say please more God and less sex in the sense of you know… we know how many (people) would like to introduce sex education as early as Grade 4 or whatever. We thought of why not the Word of God,” he said.
The CEAP convention was attended by around 1,500 officials of Catholic schools nationwide.
The archbishop of Cebu said the government’s insistence on teaching reproductive health matters to students runs against the purpose of Catholic education.
“I also would like to underline that it is important to remember that the education we give is not just information but, above all, formation. It is in this regard that even doctrines of Catholic education would tell us that the role of the teachers is indeed important,” said Palma.
“May all schools, as well, help mold people to become truly people of great faith and people who will become assets to the community and saints in the future because we are there to journey with them,” he said.
As the reproductive health bill undergoes amendments in the House of Representatives, Palma said they will leave it to the lawmakers to make it right.
The Church has said that it wants the bill, which it considers immoral and antilife, to be rejected altogether by the House.
The bill is in line with the country’s international commitments to uphold the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) and other instruments aimed at promoting methods both natural and artificial that would give couples more choices to space their children. Health officials also hope it would help stem the sexually transmitted HIV-AIDS epidemic by educating the youth about responsible sex.
First posted 11:28 pm | Saturday, September 1st, 2012
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.