A veteran member in the House of Representatives has warned young students on the alarming increase of teenage pregnancy in the First Youth Exposure Summit for Leadership, Education and Development or YES LEAD! held in Makati City on Wednesday.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian told student leaders that the rise of pregnancy rate among the youth contributes to the low scholastic attainment of students in the Philippines as it hampers them to access quality education.
“Maraming kabataan ang na-unplanned ang pagbubuntis kaya naman para maalagaan ‘yung kanilang magiging anak, umaalis sila ng paaralan,” Gatchalian said.
“Kaya naman maraming hindi nakakapagtapos ng kolehiyo dahil pagtapos nilang mag-alaga ng anak ay kadalasan hindi na sila nagpapatuloy sa pag-aaral dahil nahihiya sila or tingin nila wala ng pagkakataon,” he added.
Gatchalian, a member of House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, also explained that lack of access to higher education also worsens the trend of poverty incidents in the country as the average family income likely depends on the educational achievement of its members.
The lawmaker noted a study of National Statistics Coordinating Board (NSCB) in 2009 which indicated a 1.1 poverty incidence rate on families with at least one college degree holder as they earn an average of P505,688 annually.
On the other hand, the NSCB study showed that families that have members with no education background has a 50.7 percent poverty incidence rate as they earn only an average of P79,185 annually.
As of 2013, around 1.14 million or 11 percent of the 10.2 million Filipinos aged 15 to 19 are either pregnant for the first time or are already mothers—more than twice the rate recorded in 2002, based on the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS) study.
The data from the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) in 2014 also revealed that 24 babies from teenage mothers are delivered every hour.
Among six major economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Philippines has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies and is the only country where the rate is increasing, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
YES LEAD! is a four-day training and workshop seminar organized by the Roxas Foundation Inc. that aims to educate less fortunate but competent student leaders from schools in Nasugbu, Batangas.
Gatchalian was invited to talk about the importance of education as a Board Member of Synergeia Foundation Inc., which is a coalition of individuals, institutions, and organizations working together to improve the quality of basic education in the Philippines. (Tim Alcantara)