March 27, 2023

The Population Commission believes that proper and age-appropriate sex education and information relayed to young people could prevent teen pregnancies.

Popcom officer-in-charge Cecil Basawil said they have renewed their partnership with the Department of Education to conduct sex education not only for students but also for members of the Sangguniang Kabataan.

“The best way to reduce teen pregnancy is to provide them necessary information so that they will know what is happening to their bodies. Children may be experimenting because things are happening to their bodies and being always in school, it is best that the education is done in school. And who better to give the necessary information about themselves but those from the education sector,” she said.

In May, the Local Civil Registry Office of Baguio City said that 108 teen pregnancies – the youngest being 13 years old were registered from January to May 2022.

In 2018, Baguio City recorded 809 teen pregnancies. The number dropped to 350 in 2019 but again increased to 445 in 2020.

“It is alarming because in the 2013 national demographic survey, we are number one in teen pregnancy and then we improved in 2017 being the second from the bottom but we again have high numbers,” she said.

In 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 141 declaring teen pregnancy as a social emergency, and ordered that different government agencies converge and have programs to respond to the problem.

The Sexually Healthy and Personally Effective (SAPE) module of the Department of Education was piloted to a group of teachers who trained other teachers for the integration of age-appropriate sex education in the curriculum.

Basawil said they will also help the SK devise programs to promote sex education to the youth.

“We will help them to plan so they can come up with programs that the youth needs,” she also said.

Undersecretary for Population of the National Economic Development Authority and Popcom Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III earlier said that at least 51 percent of pregnancies in the world are unintended or unplanned, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

In the Philippines, the national average is about 30 percent. The country has been recording an average of 1.6 million unintended pregnancies every year since 2015. The trend is expected to go on until 2030.

Of that number, about 60,000 are below 18 years old who engage in extra-marital and unprotected sex. He said the SAPE module of the DepEd hopes to address not just teen pregnancies but adolescent pregnancies. – PNA