June 7, 2019
Adolescents are said to be normally curious about many things around them which include sexual relationships and sexual explorations, as confirmed by the study conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) in 2015 entitled Young Adolescent Fertility Study (YAFS). YAFS result revealed alarming facts about the adolescents and youth of Region 10, which include the following:
- 2 in 5 youth in Region 10 already have a sexual experience.
- Region 10’s teenage pregnancy has tripled in a decade of 4.6% in 2019 and 14.7% in 2017. This is again confirmed by the 2017 NDHS or National Demographic and Health Survey which said that Region 10 is the second-highest in teenage pregnancy in the Philippines.
- 1 in 3 Region 10 youth reads pornographic materials.
- 4.5% have engaged in sex with someone they met online or through text messages (Philippines: 3.7%).
- 10.1% have engaged in phone sex, the highest level in the country (Philippines: 5.8%).
- 9 in 10 of Region 10 youth’s 1st premarital sex were unprotected against pregnancy and/or STIs.
- 4.8% have engaged in casual sex (Philippines: 4.9%).
- 2.5% have FUBU experience (Philippines: 3.6%).
- 5.2% had sex with the same sex (Philippines: 4%).
The study also suggests that while Region 10 youth expresses interest to learn general information about sex, with more females than males voicing to learn about contraception, however, the same survey reveals that young people would rather consult their friends than their parents whenever they encounter reproductive health problems or concerns, thereby necessitating the need for a comprehensive intervention not only by the government agencies but by all sectors of the society.
Parents must be the first to guide their own adolescents. Religious groups and other faith-based organizations, as well as other stakeholders, must also be on board in adolescent programs.
Time runs so fast, people and trends change with time, and yet it seems that the country’s interventions to address this pressing issue about sex and teenage pregnancy are still inadequate to meet this daunting challenge.
The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) to design a Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) which is a curriculum-based process of teaching about the cognitive, emotional, physical, and social aspects of sexuality. It intends to impart age-appropriate and medically accurate information to equip the learners with knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that will empower them to realize their health, well-being, and dignity. As stipulated in the DepEd’s Order No. 31 s. 2018, the integration shall be based on the identified learning areas and are made congruent to the learning objectives and competencies in Music, Arts, Physical Education, and Health (MAPEH), Araling Panlipunan (AP), Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (EP).
Hopefully, with this curriculum by then being used as a teaching modality in school and that the CSE program is implemented seriously by the education department, the learning gap as revealed in the study (YAFS) will be filled up.