Sex education, the public school system, and the La Salle brothers

St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle teaching little boys

St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle teaching little boys

The RH Bill has now passed the bicameral committee.  One of the provisions of the bill is the sex education for students 10 to 19 years of age.   The government cannot even provide decent math and science teachers for elementary and high school. Neither has the government  finalized its science and math curriculum for K-12.  So how can the government even begin to think on how to train these teachers for sex education?

How many teachers would the government hire to teach sex education at the age levels mentioned?  Will these teachers also require Licensure Examinations in sex education?  Would licentiousness be sufficient to become a teacher?  How about sexually well-experienced, especially in the use of condoms, pills, and IUD’s?  Will there be teaching demonstration experiments similar to those in physics?  Will the experiments be physical, e.g. hand to mouth or mouth to mouth, etc?  Will there be take home assignments and practice sessions with one’s brother or sister or with one’s neighbor? Will there be discriminations for other sexual orientations–lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transexuals?  Will there be demos for these groups as well?  What will be the audio-visual aids?  Will the students read articles or watch movies on how to have “safe and satisfying sex”?  I shudder at the thought.

Thinking about these things can already excite a man’s mind, even if he has been trying to live a life of prayer and virtue.  And how much more will these things excite the minds of the young who do not have enough spiritual defenses at their disposal and who would only rely on the guidance of their parents who are not even around when these things will be taught.  If sex education do not require the parent’s presence and guidance, we might just as well remove all the parental guidance notices in TV shows and movies.

Christ said:

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.7 Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come!” (Mt 18:6-7)

May these words strike terror in the hearts of Pres. Noynoy Aquino and his cohorts who pushed the RH Bill to ratification.

I’ll mention these things in my January talk on Faith and Science in Bacolod. I may meet some teachers, religious, seminarians, and priests there.  We need to get the word out.  The hardest hit would be the public schools, because they cannot opt against this sex education.  One possibility is for parents to petition the public schools to scrap this sex education for their children.  The other option is for students walk out of the classes, and merit all the sanctions the school and the lawmakers can think of, such as not being able to graduate.  We need heroic witnessing and only the parish priest and the local bishop can lead here, because public school students and their parents are also part of the flock entrusted to them by Christ.

How about our parochial schools? I guess they cannot beat public schools in tuition, because one cannot compete against the government. We need educational reform for all dioceses in the Philippines. We need an educational system for the poor. This used to be the primary apostolate of the La Salle Brothers (known in other parts of the world as Brothers of the Christian Schools) worldwide: to teach little boys and girls practical skills to earn a living. The medium of instruction is not Latin but the local vernacular, such as French in St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle’s time.; the Jesuits, on the other hand, are originally primarily interested in training seminarians, so the emphasis of their educational system is more theology and more Latin, which would make seminarians better priests.

But the La Salle Brothers are also a dwindling religious order. They now rely most  of their teaching apostolate to the laity who needs to be paid full salaries in order to teach. Thus, tuition shoots up to high levels beyond the capacity of the poor, even if tuition is socialized. A single La Salle brother only needs to be fed and housed. He can work overtime without pay. And he can teach for free. Without an army of La Salle brothers, a diocese can never compete with the public schools in terms of tuition.  Without an army of La Salle brothers, the Catholic Church can never stop the growing malaise of sex education in public schools. We need to stop sex education in public and private schools!  We need an army of La Salle brothers!

The harvest is ripe but the laborers are few.  Let us pray that the Lord would send more La Salle brothers to labor in the public education system.


Bagguer Villaluz of Negros Daily Bulletin: Quirino M. Sugon Sr. still strong at 80

Everybody calls him SIR, THAT’S what coffee friends at GL Cafe in Villamonte call this educator who turns 80 on July 17, 2010. Every morning, I used to have my coffee at 6:30. By quarter to seven, Mr. Quirino SUGON will be coming in with some church goers and join me at my table. After a service to the LORD, this still young at heart who is everybody’s SIR enjoys his coffee with GL’s customers, most of them his students.

It is with profound sense of gratitude that Mr. QUIRINO M. SUGON, SR. celebrates his 80th birthday. The great fullfillment is greatly attributed to the richness of his experience as a teacher for 33 years. A husband to the late Mrs. Benedicta M. SUGON and the father of 8 successful children – Col. Dictarino M. SUGON MBA, Iver M. SUGON, Leah S. NICART (call center agent), Agustin M. SUGON (chef of Bar 21 Restaurant) SR. Josephine M. SUGON, HGS, Cynthia S. Dy (ED.D) ARCH. ELENA S. OBERIO MBA, and QUIRINO SUGON, JR. PhD in Physics.

I have committed to entertain his well wishers just like in the past year where after the early 7 a.m. mass, we trooped to the residence of Mr. Sugon for a well prepared breakfast. There I entertained his friends who are all members of the Senior Citizens Association of Bacolod. They sing and dance to the music of yesteryears.

But this time, I cannot be with the group for the early Birthday breakfast on the 17th. It is because my regular medical check-up with my Doctor Jose Roberto Claridad ENT Cancer specialist on the 15th of June. So when I will be back on the 18th, I promise to entertain coffee goers at GL in the morning as the extension of Mr. Sugon’s birthday.

Source: Negros Daily Bulletin

Monk’s Hobbit: My father and mother taught in St. Joseph’s High School (SJHS) in Bacolod City for 33  and 35 years, respectively.  A few years ago, SJHS changed its name to St. Joseph’s School–La Salle to emphasize its Lasallian heritage.  And with the change in name came the change in school color from blue and white to green and white.  I still associate SJHS with blue and white, because our female classmates wore blue skirts and white blouses.

The atmosphere at our home in Bacolod is Lasallian (and Dominican).  We hear stories of my father and mother about the La Salle brothers.

My parent’s hometown is in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo.  They are farmers.  In his high school days, my father would climb coconut trees and gather tuba and sells this to his teachers.  After he finished high school, he went to Manila hoping to work as a helper and request his employer to support him to college as a night school student.  When my father’s cousin met him, he told my father that his grades are good enough for U.P. Los Banos.  So my father went to Los Banos and studied B.S. in Animal Husbandry.

My father wrote his thesis so well that his teachers would refer students to him to help them write their thesis.  My father said that, unlike my mother, he is not good in English, but he reads journal articles and emulate their writing styles.  After his graduation, his adviser, Dr. Francisco Fronda, the father of poultry science in the Philippines, invited him to teach in U.P.  My father accepted the offer and worked as a a research assistant and faculty for a few years.

But after some time, for reasons known to him alone, my father packed his bag and left UP with my mother.  My father later told me that he regretted that he did not consult his adviser regarding his decisions.

They went to our relatives in Mandalagan, then transferred to Alegria in Silay.  My father got a character loan from the government of about Php 3,000 to start a farm.  And he convinced a scion of the Roxas family to give him land for his poultry.  Dr. Fronda sent him a note that he can recommend my father to a bank consultant in Batangas, but he can only assure him for a job for a year.  My father turned down the offer, thinking that he would do well in Alegria.

Life is good at Alegria.  The fruits are abundant.  The poultry and eggs business is doing well.  My father built a large house with thick cogon roof.  But my father thought if his children will grow up there, they won’t be able to go to school.  After some conflicts with their jealous neighbors, my parents left Alegria with their children and went to Bacolod.  My father said that people in Alegria can’t accept that a foreigner and a scientist would teach them better ways of raising poultry and making the soil fertile with organic farming.

My father decided to settle in Villamonte and tried to renew his poultry farm.  Bro. Francis Cody, F.S.C. visited him and asked him not how much his chickens cost, but something else: “Can you teach mathematics?”  My father said, “Yes, math is my favorite subject.”  “Okay,” Fr. Cody said.  “Go to St. Joseph’s tomorrow.  You shall teach mathematics.”

The Poultry Scientist and Certified Sugar Researcher became a high school teacher in St. Joseph’s High School and stayed there for 33 years.  My father saw the rise of Barrio Obrero, the village of the workers of the nearby Sugar Central, to Villamonte (Villa Montelibano), the largest barangay in Bacolod city in population, land area, and income.  St. Joseph’s School–La Salle is now the largest private high school in the whole Negros Occidental and its students come from the whole Negros Occidental.

I am proud of my father.  That is why I also became a teacher.