RPDCC-9 bats for curbing teenage pregnancy in ZamPen

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By Franklin P. Gumapon

PAGADIAN CITY, June 17 (PIA) – Alarmed by the unprecedented rise in teenage pregnancy and unprotected sex in Zamboanga Peninsula region, the member-agencies of the Regional Population and Development Coordinating Committee (RPDCC)-9 met here on Wednesday to discuss specific actions to address the problem.

Regional Director Reynaldo O. Wong of the Commission on Population (Popcom)-9 presented to the participants the results of the study conducted by Prof. Rosalyn Romo-Echem of the Western Mindanao State University in Zamboanga City which found that a there is a dramatic rise in premarital sex incidence in Zamboanga Peninsula particularly among female youth.

In the same study which titled “Gender Differentials in Premarital Sex Initiation Among the Youth of Zamboanga Peninsula,” it was discovered that two in every five youth in the region have sexual experience and that the region has the highest incidence of unprotected premarital sexual initiation among all regions at 92 percent.

The study also pointed out “the absence or lack of supervision from parents and other adults to have encouraged youth’s sexual activity within their own homes.”

RPDCC-9 has considered adopting the study’s policy recommendation that age and culture-appropriate sexuality and reproductive health (RH) education for in-school and idle youth should be fully implemented by trained and gender-sensitive teachers and health service providers to avert early sex engagement to include modules on values formation, negotiation and life skills for the youth in terms of reproductive, sexual and health rights.

It was also agreed in said meeting that pregnancy cases among learners especially high school students be monitored and reported to get factual data on teenage pregnancy.

Setting up of teen centers in schools has also been recommended to assist the learners in addressing some of their personal problems.

Forty-one representatives from the member-agencies like the Department of Health. National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, Philippine Information Agency, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Labor and Employment, non-government organizations, academe and others attended the RPDDC’s second quarter meeting. (FPG/PIA9)