Church 'not walking its talk' on curbing teenage pregnancy

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

THE Catholic Church admitted she has done little to curb the increasing prevalence of teenagers getting pregnant, particularly in Cagayan de Oro City and the neighboring areas under the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.

Asked on the trend of teenage pregnancy, Monsignor Rey Monsanto, one of the consultors of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, said despite the church’s interventions, the social problem persist among the youth, owing to the lack of involvement of the community.

He said there should be actions done to address the consequences resulting from early motherhood aside from the proactive efforts to bring down the number of teenagers getting pregnant.

Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro tackles church issues
CAGAYAN DE ORO. Archbishop Antonio Ledesma (2nd from left) gives the state of the archdiocese where he tackles various issues of the church in a press conference at the Bishop's residence on July 14, 2014. (Joey P. Nacalaban)



Monsanto said dropping out from school is one of the consequences where the young mothers are left without graduating from high school, thus making them unqualified to decent earning jobs.

“I must admit that we in the church, despite our effort to address the issue, there is little that we have done and our advocacy has remain only talk but no teeth. We do not walk our talk,” Monsanto said.

He suggested that government or civic organization must establish a learning facility where young mothers finish at least high school or acquire employable skills in the future.

The Population Commission program in “Investing in Young People” said the youth, 15-24 years old, which comprises nearly 20 percent of the country’s population, is an investment for a better society.

The youth is best understood as a period of transition – from school to work, from dependence to autonomy and into sexual maturity. It is during this transition that they face many health development problems.

Substance use and alcohol consumption, sexually transmitted infections (STI) including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that leads to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids), unwanted pregnancies, nutritional deficiencies that affect their lives adversely.

“Making investment at this stage of their lives will generate great returns and help them take this transition a successful one,” said Lydio Español, PopCom regional director for northern Mindanao.

The Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS) data showed that one in three of the youths have engaged in early sexual intercourse.

Aside from engaging in early sexual intercourse, the youth have also engaged in other risky sexual activities such as casual sex, having sexual buddies and male having sex with male experience. Most of these risky sexual activities are unprotected against risk of pregnancy and or STIs.

“All these findings suggest that young people of today are facing sexual and non-sexual risks and more challenged in several ways. They are unaware of the consequences of these risks and many are ill-prepared to face the consequences,” Español said.

Risky behaviors

PopCom said the negative effects of these risky behaviors include dropping or leaving school. If it happens, their education is interrupted and they will have an increased likelihood of being unemployed or underemployed, thus limiting their opportunities to provide a stable future for their children.

They will find themselves faced with numerous responsibilities for which they are unprepared and may lead to other psychological and emotional problems such as anger and disillusionment.

PopCom said that investing in young people’s sexuality and reproductive health is one of the effective ways to improve their social and economic status.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 15, 2014.

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