SAN FERNANDO CITY, July 13 (PIA) – For Rea (not her real name), giving birth to a daughter at the age of 14 was not easy. She has to give up her studies to look after and nourish her firstborn.
“I regret trying and having sex for the first time with my boyfriend because a lot of things have changed, I wish I am still in school and do what an ordinary teenager can do,” Rea said.
In a recent study by the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS), there was an overall decrease in the level of smoking, drinking and drug abuse among the youth but the prevalence of premarital sexual activity has increased.
The use of contraception or protection against sexually transmitted infection also remains low and unchanging.
Every year on July 11, World Population Day is observed to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. This year’s theme is “investing in teenage girls.”
“We are ‘investing in teenage girls’ is giving utmost priority to the young girls because they are the most vulnerable to discrimination, injury, exploitation violence, teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, sexual abuse depriving them to exercise their full potentials, freedom and equity,” Erma Yapit, regional director of the Commission on Population in the Ilocos, said.
According to Dr. Myrna C. Cabotaje, regional director of the Department of Health, teenage pregnancies (those aged 10 to 19 years old) in region one last year accounted for seven percent or 6,000 out of the 90,000 total deliveries in the region.
“It is really alarming because they are young, the body is not ready for pregnancy and the babies are not adequately fed and are nutritionally compromised,” said Cabotaje.
In the region, POPCOM partners with the Department of Education on the implementation of population development education, an age-specific module on information and values for Grade VI, V and highschool.
The body’s reproductive system, adolescent development and effects of risky sexual behavior, including pregnancy or HIV infection and family planning are among those taught to the youth.
In region one, POPCOM led the celebration of the World Population Day on July 11. Highlighting the event was the awarding of winning teams of the Mulat Kabataan music video contest initiated by the agency. Contestants were judged on their submitted videos in line with the theme “Kabataan, Kalusugan, Kalikasan: Magkakaugnay”.
Among the 24 entries from the different high schools in the region, Aringay National High School’s “Tara Na”, “Mulat Kabataan Para sa Bayan” of Castor Z Concepcion National High School in Balaoan, La Union and “Kabataan, Kalusugan, Kalikasan: Magkaugnay” of City of Batac National High School in Ilocos Norte were declared first place, second place and third place, respectively. (JNPD/JDS/PIA1, La Union)