PASIG CITY, August 4, 2018 – Curbing the rising incidences of early pregnancy, sexual violence, and human-immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among young Filipinos will be further strengthened in the classroom as the Department of Education (DepEd) issued the Policy Guidelines on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).

Otherwise known as DepEd Order No. 31, series 2018 (DO 31), the policy aims to enhance the holistic wellness of the Filipino adolescents and effectively address their needs for health and protection through education by ensuring that they are equipped with comprehensive information and appropriate life skills that can advance gender equality and empowerment, clarify their values and attitude, and reduce risks related to poor health outcomes – thereby enabling them to achieve their full potential.

“The need to promptly arrest the surge in these cases is increasingly becoming urgent; the young generation is really at risk, that’s why it is imperative to enable them to develop into responsible adolescents capable of making rational decisions based on adequate information and better understanding of reproductive health,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones noted.

Recognizing the roles and responsibilities of the school system to provide learners their right to good health, the policy shall establish a common understanding of CSE key concepts and messages and ensure a clear implementation of CSE protocols in all public and private elementary, junior and senior high schools, learning centers for Special Education (SPED) and Alternative Learning System (ALS), and laboratory schools of state and local universities and colleges (SUCs/LUCs).

Indigenous learning systems (ILSs) and Madrasah Education Program (MEP) shall integrate the CSE standards, core topics, core values, and core life skills in subjects like Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health (MAPEH); Science; Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (ESP); Araling Panlipunan; and Personality Development.

Effective teaching, informed adolescents
A curriculum-based process of teaching and learning, CSE is anchored on cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality that is scientific, age- and developmentally appropriate, culturally and gender-responsive, and with rights-based approach. Likewise, it’s implementation shall involve parents-teachers-community associations, school officials, civil society organizations, and other interest groups that ensure cultural acceptability, efficiency, and appropriateness of key concepts and messages.

As it equips learners with knowledge, skills, attitude and values, CSE will help them develop critical thinking in relation to risky behaviors and empower them to realize their health, well-being, and dignity. It is also expected to contribute to better learning outcomes, reduced dropout rate, increased completion rate, and improved quality of learning.