UP study reveals teenage fertility rate in Bicol region rising


LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY: With easy access to Internet, the youth in Bicol region specifically males including females are fascinated to read pornographic materials, the third highest in the country after the National Capital Region and Calabarzon based on the study of the University of the Philippines.

Based on the 2010 census, Bicol has a total of 1,030,147 youth ages 15 to 24. This constitutes about 5.7 percent of the Philippines’ total youth population of 18 million.

Study showed that 38 percent of Bicol youth read pornographic materials wherein 39.7 percent among males and 36.7 percent among female. While 52.7 percent of the youth have watched x-rated movies and 36.6 percent among females, placing below the national average, based on the research presented by Dr. Nimfa Ogena and Dr. Arnission Andre Ortega of Demographic Research and Development Foundation University of the Philippines Population Institute.

The study was presented during the Population Commission Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study 4 (YAFS 4) regional dissemination forum held at Fiesta Ballroom, Central City Subdivision in this city.

The youth also engage in other media-related sexual activities wherein 8.8 percent have visited websites with sexually-explicit content, 16.5 percent have sent or received sex videos through cellphones or internet. Similarly, 4.3 percent have engaged in phone sex and 3.7 percent had sex with someone they met online or through text messages, the study said.

But the most alarming data presented during the forum was, Bicol youth engaged in sex at young ages. The mean age according to the study at first sex is 17.5 years for males and 18.3 years for females. About 1.9 percent of young males and 1.2 percent of young females had sex before age 15. At least 21.1 percent of young males and 18.4 percent of young females had sex before age 18.

The study also said that 84. 6 percent of first premarital sexual encounters are unprotected against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Because of this, Bicol region fertility rate is increasing wherein 7.3 percent of females aged 15-19 are already mothers. The proportion of women who have begun childbearing generally increases with age.

The YAFS is a series of nationally representative cross-sectional surveys on the Filipino youth aged 15-24 conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation (DRDF).

In national study category, the percentage of young girls aged 15 to 19 who have begun childbearing had more than doubled with the past decade.

In 2002, the last YAFS survey found that 6.3 percent of girls 15-19 years old were either pregnant for the first time or were already mothers. The latest done in 2013 shows that this percentage this climbed to 13.6 percent; 1 in 10 girls aged 15-19 was already a mother while 2.6 percent were pregnant with their first child when they were interviewed in 2013.

Among girls aged 15, almost two percent had begun childbearing. This proportion increases as age increases such that among those who were aged 19 when interviewed in 2013, one in three had already begun childbearing.

“This result does not come as a surprise especially if we link this with what we found regarding sexual behaviour of young Filipino today,” said Prof. Maria Paz Marquez, author of the paper on adolescent sexual behavior.

Result from YAFS 4 shows increasing proportion of young Filipinos have engaged in premarital sex and majority of them reported that their first sexual experience was unprotected from the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Whether these early pregnancies are the direct outcome of early and unprotected sex is a subject for further stydy of the YAFS 4 data according to the researcher.


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