On Oct. 20, 1992, former President Fidel Ramos, by virtue of Proclamation No. 76, declared November 23 to 29 as Population and Development Week. The activities for the annual celebration will be led by the Population Commission (PopCom) and the Department of Health (DOH).
POPCOM to declare teenage pregnancy as a ‘National Emergency’
Previously, World Population Day on July 11 aimed to strengthen the call to urgently enact the pending legislation on reproductive health. In line with this, Popcom-10 Director Jeremias Gupit relays a study done by the University of the Philippine Population Institute (UPPI) that indicates Northern Mindanao is among the areas with the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the country.
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Furthermore, according to PopCom, one in six of the Philippines’ teenage pregnancies is a repeated pregnancy as a result of the lack of family planning services for young mothers. And while children are generally considered welcome additions to families, the increase of teenage pregnancies leads PopCom Executive Director Juan Antonio A. Perez III to report that an executive order declaring it as a “national emergency” is being drafted.
Executive Director Rom Dongeto of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) calls on the Department of Education (DepEd) and DOH to actualize their promise of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) from the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law. The CSE’s primary purpose is to educate learners with age-appropriate and medically correct information on sexuality.
In April, Education Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said the DepEd wanted to integrate the CSE program with existing subjects.
“[For] example, in science. We know that the parts of the body are a science topic. But here, we will integrate the concept of privacy, harassment, and good relationship. So, values education comes in,” Sevilla said.
Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that while educating students on the topic should be a priority, providing well-trained teachers will more likely to increase the overall effectivity of the program.