Senator Win Gatchalian has filed a resolution seeking a Senate inquiry on the rising cases of teenage pregnancies and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections among the Filipino youth.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) noted that teenage pregnancy is a consequence of having little to no access to school information, or sexual and reproductive health care. The UNFPA also said that adolescents in the Philippines who have begun childbearing before reaching the age of 18 are less likely to complete secondary education.
In filing Proposed Senate Resolution No. 13, Gatchalian took note of the importance of reviewing the current policy on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to assess the comprehensiveness of its scope and the effectiveness of its implementation. Aside from preventing teenage pregnancies and HIV infections, Gatchalian also stressed the importance of educating learners to become independent and productive members of society.
Gatchalian pointed out that since 2010, the average share of teenage pregnancy in total births in the country has substantially increased to about 28%. From 2000-2009, this figure was at 21.5%.
The increasing number of HIV cases is also attributed to the lack of education about safe sex as many engage in sexual contact without contraceptives. From 1984 to March 2019, 65,463 cumulative cases of HIV have been recorded, 31% of which are males aged 15 to 24 who are still in learning institutions.
While the Department of Education issued Department Order (D.O.) No. 31 s. 2018 to guide the implementation of CSE, the UNFPA declared that there is a long delay in its integration in the K to 12 Curriculum. The UN agency added that this is a significant missed opportunity to provide young people with needed life skills to make informed decisions related to risk behaviors with consequences to their health.
“Kinakailangang pagtibayin ang kasalukuyang Comprehensive Sexuality Education upang maturuan ang mga kabataan ng mga epektibong paraan upang maiwasan ang maagang pagbubuntis at maiwasang makakuha ng sakit na siyang hadlang sa pagpapatuloy ng kanilang pag-aaral. Dapat itaguyod natin ang kapakanan at kaligtasan ng mga kabataan upang maabot nila ang kanilang potensyal,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.