I was deeply troubled when Pili’s Population Officer told me that in another municipality in Camarines Sur, a girl got pregnant at age 10 and she gave birth in September 2017 at age 11. The Population Officer added that girls these days are having their first period (menarche) very early. Based on the findings from the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (2013), more than 1 in 10 girls experienced menstruation before age 12.
She finally relented to having sex with her boyfriend after months of verbal insistence (pangungulit) and emotional blackmail (e.g. if you really love me, you should give yourself to me). They did not use condom. Her boyfriend said that if she gets pregnant, he will take responsibility for her and their baby (pananagutan kita).
I’m grateful for this opportunity to dialogue with high school students from various schools in Pampanga about the issue of teenage pregnancy. They shared about the awkwardness of asking their parents about dating and relationships and their hesitation to ask
I truly believe in harnessing the power of young people to positively influence their peers. In my development work, I’ve witnessed the effectiveness of training youth on sexuality-related issues so they, in turn, provide accurate and appropriate information to their teens. Peer educators can support their classmates and friends in developing positive group norms and in making informed and healthy decisions with regard to their sexuality.