Br. Armin Luistro FSC has already accepted the invitation of President-elect Noynoy Aquino III to be the top honcho of the now controversial Education department. The President of DLSU and a De La Salle Brother has been known to be very close to the late former President Corazon Aquino and to the Aquino family especially during the time when calls for resignation of outgoing President Gloria Arroyo filled up the streets.

The DLSU official statement says,

“After due consultation with various stakeholders in the Lasallian community, Bro. Armin Luistro has accepted the invitation of President-elect Aquino to be the Department of Education (DepEd) secretary.”

The appointment of Br. Armin Luistro for me reveals to the vigilant public tidbits of the road that the Education department is going to trod in the midst of controversies hounding the implementation of sex education in public schools.  Advocates of anti-sex education and Catholic Bishops by now are certainly seeing a sign of relief as their crusade may easily find a defender in the person of a religious Brother as a DepEd secretary. The collaborative efforts between the Department of Health and Department Education may soon find its natural death?

This appointment of a religious Catholic brother thus raises a serious question whether the present implementation of DepEd’s PopEd (Population Education) Program will be continued under Br. Armin’s watch (which is unlikely, me thinks), will be watered down to a program that is more acceptable to the Catholic Church or will be totally scrapped and thrown into the nearest trash bin.

The most vicious critics of sex education dragged the issue into court asserting that what the Education department is presently doing is unconstitutional by thwarting the right of parents to rearing the total being of their children more particularly their moral character.  For them, the present sex-ed program only leads our “kids towards being sex obsessed.”  This blinded understanding totally ignores also the equal right of state “in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being.”

Unfortunately, sex is a taboo if not considered a sin in Philippine society that parents as studies reveal are actually properly educating their children about it but the more serious problem is that parents themselves are even not educated about it.  It will only be like a blind guiding his fellow blind man.  And with the present phenomenon of parents working abroad, the state is much more compelled to do its constitutional duties of protecting and educating its youth.

Taking from the standpoint of Imbong and company:  If teaching about sex-ed to children is the sole prerogative of parents as what the Catholic Church also says, maybe then the State could also sue and jail all parents who fail to do their constitutional duty with the obvious burgeoning of our population, teenage pregnancy and rise of sexually transmitted disease.

But will Br. Armin defend the right of the state over his vows as a religious Brother if the need arises about this particular issue?  Will he become the bridge between the state and the religious sector in order to come to a more acceptable sex-ed program?  Or will he succumb to the lobbying of the Catholic Church on education programs and issues that the latter finds against its so-called moral stand?

There is no question about Br. Armin’s competence; he is a great educator and school administrator, and an upright man, but what were raised above is some of the burden and biases a person strongly affiliated with a religious group carries with him when he enters the government.  He is strongly bound by his religious beliefs and vows.

But at the end of any long arguments and discussions on what will Br. Armin Luistro do regarding the present sex-ed program of DepEd, everything will rest on President-elect Noynoy Aquino’s policies and programs.  Well, we can also say that his choice of cabinet secretaries will also tell us of his stand on the controversial issues of sex-ed and the RH Bill.

I am hoping to hear Br. Armin’s stand on the present sex-ed program of DepEd soon.

What is your thought of Br. Armin Luistro FSC as the secretary of DepEd?

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