ONCE again, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has taken the lead among other local government units in the country when he led the launching of fertility awareness lectures in the city’s public high schools in an effort to curb the rising incidence of teen pregnancies.
‘This would be the first time in the country that this will be regularly taught to our high school students as part of the curriculum. So we will take the lead,’ Moreno said as he spoke during the launching of the ‘School-Based Health Information Dissemination on Fertility Awareness and Sexually-Transmitted Infections’ held at the Araullo High School in Manila last October 1. Said activity was organized by the Family Planning Division led by Dr. Criselda Coroza and members Administrative Officer 2 Sandy Araneta, Nurse 5 Marivic Bagallon and Administrative Aide Imelda De Vera.
Specifically, Moreno called for the teaching of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in all public schools, a first in the history not only of the city but of the country in general.
Araneta explained that while the CSE is embodied under the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law, approved by Congress in 2012, such has not been regularly taught to all high school students.
‘With the teaching of CSE to High School students in all public schools in Manila, the subject will be integrated in the school curriculum. This was already approved by DepEd Manila and we believe it would be better to start early for our students to learn about sexuality and fertility awareness, Moreno said, even as he warned the youngsters of the consequences of engaging in early sex especially if they have yet to finish their studies.
As a product of poverty himself, Moreno stressed the value of education in order to have a better future, while pointing out that poverty should never be a hindrance to getting a diploma, citing his own case.
‘Kung kinaya ko po, kakayanin din nyo’ Moreno said, as he also called on the young not to jump into marriage right after college and to first establish careers and help their parents before starting a family.
‘You might lack the time or might even have no more time to do this if you get pregnant —that’s for the young girls— or if you impregnated your girlfriend —that’s for the young boys. So this early, we will be teaching our young students CSE to avoid teen pregnancy,’ the mayor added.
Citing the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), Moreno said the Philippines has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the ASEAN Region, even as it indicated that teen pregnancy spiked by 70 percent between 1999 to 2009. Of the 17 million births in 2009, over 11 percent involved teen mothers. About one-third of all pregnancies in the Philippines occur between the ages of 15 and 24 and one of the youngest pregnant girls recorded in Manila was just 12 years old.