Sex Ed and Other Matters

I was about to attend a Policy Forum on Teen Pregnancy. It’s supposed to be today, but I just found that it has been postponed.

I expect it to be rich on informative, insightful lectures and speeches; and poor on workable solutions.

There is a culture of hypocrisy in this country as far as pregnancy is concerned. As far as sex is concerned, actually.

We are a people who tell our children, “do as I say, not as I do.”

For example, a grandmother of 35 brought her 16 year old pregnant daughter to the clinic yesterday. The grandmother is also pregnant with her 5th child with husband number 2. She tells me, referring to her pregnant daughter, “Ewan ko ba kung bakit nagpabuntis yan ng ang aga aga.” (I don’t know how she got herself pregnant at such a young age..”) What did they say about the pot and the kettle?

Congressman Manny Pacquaio is adamantly opposed to artificial contraception. His wife Jinkee has been using oral contraceptive pills to space her pregnancies. Good for you Jinkee … now please tell your husband to be consistent in his convictions.

Health workers are supposed to advise our clients about family planning. A week ago, a patient was willing and able to undergo tubal ligation (a procedure to tie her fallopian tubes that will permanently prevent her from getting pregnant). So I was ready to perform the procedure when my midwife reminded me that we have no anesthesia supplies.

Uhhh … I’m sorry Ms. Family Planning Client, I will have to refer you to another government facility because we lack supplies. And no, we weren’t given supplies for IUD or DMPA either. I can advise you about Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) and Calendar-Based Methods. Oh I see, LAM didn’t work for you because you had to work in a factory that doesn’t have breastfeeding facilities;  and Calendar Based Method is so difficult to do because, really it feels sooo good to have sex when you’re ovulating … I can agree with the great sex during ovulation part 🙂

During Women’s Month (which is, incidentally, this month!), the mayor proudly announces that the health facilities in the local government provide complete and comprehensive family planning services.

The truth is: most funding for Family Planning come from foreign aid agencies.

Another truth is: the Department of Health (DOH), like a lot of government agencies, is wishy washy about reproductive health because of the Catholic lobby.  When they ask for funding for family planning supplies from Congress, god-fearing congressmen shoot them down.

Yeah, yeah, Undersecretary Garin is now at the helm of the Family Health Office and she was a proponent of the RH Law. Well good luck to her. I hope she doesn’t use her DOH post as just another stepping stone to higher political office.

In countries that have curbed teen pregnancy and have decreased unplanned pregnancy, education played a big role. And so in the Philippines, sex education is  being espoused as a solution to prevent pregnancy among adolescents. So okay, fine, but where and how will we conduct this so-called sex education if we lack classrooms; we lack teachers; the teachers are uninspired and underpaid; the school books are crap;  and the students are hungry?

And was I the only one who has noticed that the agencies who are very active in the Sex Ed/Teen Pregnancy advocacy are DSWD and DOH? Where does the DepEd come in all this? Are they, or are they not, the ones who are primarily in charge of education? Ah but my dear, Education is quite different from sex education

Do the people advocating sex education even know how  it is supposed to be conducted?

I can hear my 16-year old self: If sex feels soooo good, how can you keep us from it? If being a parent is so stress inducing, why did you go through with it?

The thing is, people become parents even if they don’t know how to answer such questions from a 16-year old.

Cynicism has its place and I don’t know if mine is warranted.

The virgin mary and me. I'm sure even she and Joseph had sex.

The Virgin Mary and me. I’m sure even she and Joseph had sex.

 

 

 

Hospitality

According to Wikipedia, hospitality is defined as “the relationship between guest and host which includes the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or stranger.”

Sometimes I wonder about this so-called “Filipino hospitality”, this tendency of my people to give the best part of what they have to their guests. The best place in the house to sleep in, the best blanket, the best food, the best type of treatment.

Or maybe, that was the case a long time ago. Like 400 years ago maybe.

I can remember a high school teacher saying something like, “if we Filipinos have not been so hospitable, we wouldn’t have been colonized by white-skinned foreigners. And then we wouldn’t be this fucked up.”  That  second sentence, she didn’t say that exactly … I just implied it from her expression and the kind of teacher she was (a member of the LFS who had probably joined the NPA — I think).

Sometimes, I also wonder if this so-called “hospitality” is a concept devised by my country’s elites; foisted on me so I that I will not feel enraged when they screw me over and over. (But then I should also remember that I got screwed  because I smilingly I laid on my back and spread my legs. Well, boo hoo on me …)

I haven’t been bothered by a blog for a long time. But this one had. And I can’t really say why. The writer seem to be well-meaning and very honest. Honesty should be prized more than hospitality I think.

This is how she related an experience travelling to the Ilocos:

“A big disappointment here. For some reasons, Filipinos (especially older people) got really angry when they saw us taking photos of them, the food in the street or even ourselves in front of their shops or houses. It’s totally understandable, but once we asked them for permission, they quoted the price of the photo or said “Any money is ok. It’s up to you.” This attitude shocked us on the first day, but it continued for the rest of our stay. We still can’t understand that. Is it because some Filipino are materialistic people or they are just poor people trying to earn some extra money? Don’t know the answer.”

Hmmm …  are we a materialistic people? But then, we (a majority of us, anyway) are a people who have so little as far as material stuff are concerned. Even the lands under our feet are not ours.

We gave them to the white-skinned foreigners and their local cronies a long time ago. Shame on us …

And then she tried our foods and was disappointed as well.  Yup, me too … sometimes I’d rather starve than try the food she ate. But then, I can afford to starve like for a day or even two. The people who patronize the “poor quality food” she mentioned are, well,  poor.  If they starve, they really starve — as in, to death.

I feel sad for this tourist. For her horrible diarrhea and her bad experience in my third world home.

But I feel sadder for myself.

sunset

We are supposedly known for (and are proud of) our sunsets …

burot beach

… and beaches ….

tree

It’s just that I think, there is a dishonesty in being proud of stuff that one did not create in the first place.