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PopCom proposes age-appropriate sex education to reduce teen pregnancy.

BAGUIO CITY, PHILIPPINES — The Population Commission (PopCom) thinks that providing proper and age-appropriate sex education and information to young people can help to avoid teen pregnancy.

On Wednesday, Cecil Basawil, Officer-in-Charge of PopCom in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), announced that they have renewed their relationship with the Department of Education (DepEd) to provide sex education not only for students but also for Sangguniang Kabataan members.

“The greatest method to prevent teen pregnancy is to provide them with the information they need to understand what is going on with their bodies.” Children may experiment because things are occurring to their bodies, and because they are always in school, it is preferable that they receive their education there. “And who better than individuals in the education industry to provide the required information about themselves,” she remarked.

From January to May 2022, the Baguio City Local Civil Registry Office reported 108 teen pregnancies, the youngest of which was 13 years old.

In 2018, there were 809 teen pregnancies in Baguio City. The number of events decreased to 350 in 2019 but jumped to 445 in 2020.

“It’s worrying because, as you may recall, we were number one in teen pregnancy in the 2013 national demographic study, and then we improved in 2017 to be second from the bottom, but we still have high rates,” she added.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 141 in 2020, proclaiming teen pregnancy a social emergency and directing various government departments to collaborate on efforts to address the issue.

The Department of Education’s Sexually Healthy and Personally Effective (SAPE) module was previously piloted with a group of teachers, who then educated other instructors on how to integrate age-appropriate sex education into the curriculum.

Basawil added that they will also assist the SK in developing activities to promote sec education among the youth utilizing their limited resources.

“We’ll assist them in plan so they can figure out what the youth want, and then they can come up with programs to meet those needs,” she added.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, at least 51% of pregnancies in the globe are unwanted or unplanned, according to Juan Antonio Perez III, Undersecretary for Population of the National Economic Development Authority and PopCom Executive Director.

The national average in the Philippines is around 30%. Since 2015, the country has had an annual average of 1.6 million unplanned pregnancies. The current pattern is anticipated to continue until 2030.

Around 60,000 of those under the age of 18 participate in extramarital and unprotected intercourse. He stated that the DepEd’s SAPE module aims to address not only teen pregnancies but also adolescent pregnancies.

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