AS CENTRAL Visayas ranked seventh in the most number of cases of teenage pregnancy in the country, stakeholders are conducting a values and education drive for youngsters in the region.
Regional government offices, such as the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission and Population (Popcom), and the Archdiocese of Cebu gathered Tuesday, August 9, in the Association of Government Information Officers (Agio) forum to discuss the problem.
“It’s alarming because people engaging in premarital sex are getting younger. In fact, ranking second is Region II, which is quite baffling since it’s a quiet place compared to the National Capital Region and Central Visayas,” said Popcom Regional Director lawyer Bruce Ragas.
As presented by the Young Adult Survey, ages 15 to 17 are the recorded average of teens engaging in sex.
Ragas, however, said that in an isolated case, Central Visayas alone has recorded a 12-year-old to be the youngest person to have engaged in sex.
“This has a social implication. Teenage pregnancy increases the risks of acquiring sexually transmitted disease. Aside from this, it has an economic effect which entraps youngsters in the cycle of poverty and curtailing their dreams as a result,” Ragas said.
DepEd, for its part, has integrated in their health subject’s curriculum the enforcement of an extensive sex education discussion in classes.
Last month, DepEd conducted seminar trainings in all public schools in the province through Operation Light House Keeping.
“This allows teachers to teach their students about the importance of marriage by God’s design and time. This is done on lunch breaks to help strengthen the values of the kids,” said DepEd Project Development Officer Ameelyn Coca.
Archdiocese of Cebu Commission on Family and Life chairman Rev. Fr. Eligio Suico said the reorientation of the young people about human sexuality is important.
The Church is educating public that sexuality is an integral part of the human being.
Suico said that despite the rise in teenage pregnancy cases, the values of the Filipino culture should be recognized following the decisions of the young parents to keep their children instead of resorting to abortion.
“Social media has opened the minds of the youth, making them vulnerable. But we must work together in providing authentic education in human sexuality that the body is sacred,” he said.
A study conducted by the United Nations Population Fund revealed a decline in adolescent fertility rate in countries among the Asia-Pacific except the Philippines.
A survey done by the Philippine Statistics Authority in 2013 showed that one in every 10 Filipina between the age of 15 to 19 has already given birth, or is pregnant with her first child.