On April 28, 2012, the United Nations Population Fund Agency (UNPFA) reported that the number of teenage pregnancies in the Philipines rose from 114,205 in 1999 to 195,662 in 2009, a 70% increase. Data showed that of the 1.75 million live births in 2009, over 11 percent or 192,500 involved teenaged mothers. The teenage pregnancy rate in the Philippines among women ages 15-19 is 5.3% the highest among Asean’s six major economies.
A Catholic priest reacted to this report by making these statements:
1) The increase of teenage pregnancy cases is due to the breakdown of moral values.
2) The schools, parents and religious sector probably did not impart proper values to the children.
3) Maybe the exposure of youths in media like in films, particularly television shows in the international scene, did not give proper values.
Due to the breakdown of moral values? Really? What else could the reason be? Tell us something we do not already know.
Is the teaching of moral values the responsibility of the schools? Is it the responsibility of the parents?
If the teachers and the parents are indeed responsible, the question is, Who are supposed to teach them and what are they to teach?
The Philippine government has been pushing for a values education program since Fidel Ramos ordered a moral recovery program 20 years ago. But, is values education the responsibility of the government?
Perhaps, values education is the responsibility of movie and television producers. If it is, well we might as well build are homes on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius.
The real question is, What is the Catholic Church doing about the problem of moral breakdown? Close to 90% of Filipinos are Catholics. The Philippines is a Catholic nation no matter how one wishes to slice it. Those who run the local governments, the school system and the media are Catholics. Therefore, the Catholic Church should take responsibility for the country’s moral breakdown, and not point its fingers at other institutions.
Filipino parents, teachers, government officials and media executives are not capable of learning moral values by osmosis.
And so I ask, Who will teach moral values to the Filipino youth? And, What values system should they learn?