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Gatchalian urges effective sexuality education rollout as teenage pregnancies spike anew

MANILA, (PIA) -- Following a hike in pregnancies among girls below 15 years old between 2021 and 2022, Senator Win Gatchalian reiterated the need to effectively roll out the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).

While the DepEd has a policy on implementing CSE under DepEd Order No. 31 s. 2018, there is a need to ensure its effective implementation in schools,” Gatchalian said.

The senator filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 13 to seek an inquiry on the rising number of adolescent pregnancies and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections among the youth. The inquiry aims to strengthen the DepEd’s CSE.

The Commission on Population and Development (CPD) reported that between 2021 and 2022, live births among girls 15 years old and below increased from 2,320 to 3,135, the equivalent of 35.13 percent. CPD Executive Director Lisa Bersales pointed out that while live births from girls aged 14 and below are just 0.22 percent of the total live births, the agency is still concerned about the spike in teenage pregnancies.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) previously flagged that adolescents who began childbearing before the age of 18 are less likely to complete secondary education, which affects their employment opportunities in the future.

The population body also flagged that adolescent pregnancy poses an increased risk for poor health outcomes for both mother and child. Early pregnancy among adolescents is also associated with the risk of having greater age differences with their partners, making them more vulnerable to domestic violence.

Nakakabahala ang pagdami ng bilang ng mga batang ina, lalo na’t hinaharap ng mga kabataang ito ang panganib na matigil sa pag-aaral at makaranas ng karahasan. Mahalagang tiyakin nating nasa paaralan ang mga babaeng mag-aaral, at matatanggap nila ang epektibong sexuality education para sa kanilang sapat na kaalaman at proteksyon,” said Gatchalian, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.

(The increase in the number of young mothers is worrying, especially since these young people face the risk of dropping out of school and experiencing violence. It is important that we ensure that female students are in school, and that they receive effective sexuality education for their adequate knowledge and protection.)

Under the DepEd’s 2024 national budget, at least P100 million under the Learner Support Programs was allotted for the implementation of the Adolescent Reproductive Health Program. (PIA-NCR)

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