1 of 3 teens engage in sex

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Monday, February 17, 2014

THE Population Commission (PopCom) has raised the alarm on rising teenage pregnancies in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

PopCom Regional Director Rosa Fortaleza, during Friday’s launch of the 101 XSX program calling for an empowered youth, reported the recent findings of the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study, which found out that 32 percent of young Filipinos aged 15 to 24 years old had engaged in sex before marriage.

The report said one out of three youth had early sexual experiences. It went up to 32 percent in 2013 from just 23 percent in 2002.


The report also showed more young men (31.2 percent) than women (16 percent) already have early sexual experience.

But according to Fortaleza, more startling is majority of today's youth had their first sexual experience without using any form of contraception, with 78 percent of youth aged 15-24 having unprotected during their first sexual encounter.

The study also showed some 7.3 percent of youth have engaged in casual sex, while 3.5 percent have had regular sex without emotional attachments.

Another finding showed teenage pregnancy among young women aged 15-19 years old has doubled in the past decade with one out of 10 girls aged 15-19 already becoming a mother.

The highest pregnancy rate is found also in the Cordillera at 18.4 percent, followed by Cagayan Valley (Region 2) at 18.1 percent.

PopCom information officer Annie Calimquim said this could only be addressed by reaching out to the youth through inclusive programs with the aim of reducing teenage pregnancies in the region.

Calimquim said in some regions, teenage pregnancies are only high in urban areas but in the Cordillera, even sparsely populated provinces such as Apayao has a high prevalence of teenage pregnancies, which is why the agency has been reaching out to the youth to make them understand the issue.

She said another important role of reducing these high premarital sex and teenage pregnancy rates is through constant interaction with the youth through the agency's 101 XSX campaign, which will attempt to reach various youth groups and highlight the importance of education and promotion of Filipino values.

This, she said, is among the ways to have an empowered youth who must not carry the burden of rearing children at such a young age and instead become professionals to help the nation attain its needed economic growth and provide foundations for better families in the future.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 18, 2014.

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