Nationwide curfew can help reduce teenage pregnancy
CEBU - The proposed imposition of a nationwide ban on minors seen loitering the streets at night could make a dent on the increasing number of teenagers becoming pregnant which is now described as an “alarming” trend.
Commission on Population (POPCOM-7) regional director Bruce Ragas said he believes implementing a nationwide curfew banning children below 18 years old from the streets at night can actually help temper the rising rate of teenage pregnancy.
President Rodrigo Duterte loudly voiced the need for a nationwide ban on minors from public streets starting at 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. as well as an alcohol ban in public places past midnight.
Though the nationwide ban on minors still has to take effect, some local government units are already imposing curfew on minors based on local ordinance that was passed in their respective areas.
“There is a link between drinking and smoking to pre-marital sex among teenagers,” said Ragas, citing the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality or YAFS 4 Survey conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation.
The YAFS 4 Survey revealed that one of every 10 Filipino women between 15 to 19 years old has already given birth or is pregnant with her first child.
Ragas said Central Visayas ranks seventh among the regions throughout the country with the highest number of pregnant teenagers while the top regions are Region 2 and CARAGA.
“But we have the youngest teenager that got pregnant at 12 years old,” said Ragas.
The 2013 YAFS Survey in Central Visayas showed that two in five youths have sexual experience while there is a rise in the prevalence of premarital sex from 23.2 percent in 2002 to 35.3 percent in 2013.
Likewise, the study revealed a rise in teenage pregnancy from 5.3 percent in 2002 to 13.1 percent in 2013 while more than 49,000 out of 376,411 females ages 15 to 19 have begun childbearing.
Among the factors attributed to the early sex engagement are curiosity, expression of love, release of sexual tension for males and peer or partner pressure and expression of love for females, as cited in the survey.
According to a preliminary data from the Department of Health, there are 5,197 cases of teenage pregnancy in Central Visayas as of 2015 while early exposure to sex including premarital sex are likely contributors to the increased teenage fertility in the region.
Ragas said the President’s policy to enforce the Reproductive Health Law would be a big help to address the issue on teenage pregnancy by providing correct information and education.
The problem however, needs collaborative efforts from all sectors in the community, said Ragas adding that a curfew on minors could curtail the opportunity to engage in physical intimacy.