A new study on fertility and sexuality among young Filipinos has linked early sex among millennials to early exposure to the Internet and social media.
Commission on Population (Popcom) executive director Juan Perez III said on Thursday, March 25, that one out of three girls and boys who are 15 to 19 years of age have engaged in premarital sex.
Speaking at the launch of Book 4 of the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS) study at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, Perez said that based on regional studies, those who have access to Internet and pornographic materials, smoke, drink alcohol and use drugs at a young age have the tendency to engage in premarital sex.
He further pointed out that boys do it for the sexual act while girls do it for love. Their trysts occur mostly at home and in dormitories, often without protection against pregnancy or communicable diseases.
Perez observed a high incidence of teenage pregnancy in urban areas, as well as the regions of Cagayan Valley, the Cordilleras, and Caraga in Mindanao.
“Every year, 209,000 or more than 10 percent of childbirths in the country involve women less than 20 years old,” he said, citing dropping out of school as among the factors that lead to teenage pregnancy.
The study, he said, suggested appropriate policy and program responses. “The parents’ role is very important, along with the roles of institutions, teachers, the Church and their peers,” he added.
With the findings, Perez said they have given recommendations on how to address teenage pregnancy in the Philippine Development Plan of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
“We want to reduce the 11 to 14 percent of teenage pregnancy to about 6 or 7 percent, or at least reduce it to half in the next five years,” said Perez. He added that the Popcom has asked a congressman to file a bill addressing teen pregnancy in the country, as well as adolescent health and development.
The YAFS Study is a series of surveys on youths aged 15 to 24 years conducted nationwide since 1982 by the UP Population Institute (UPPI) and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation. It is a primary source of information on sexual and non-sexual risk behaviors in the country. – PNA