Population official recommends a topic for families on quarantine | Inquirer News

Population official recommends a topic for families on quarantine

By: - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQ
/ 05:32 AM April 05, 2020

MANILA, Philippine — Parents, are your kids bored out of their skull during this monthlong quarantine?

Here’s a surefire way to perk up their interest, if not their hormones: Why not talk to them about the birds and the bees?


Nope, talking about sex and sexuality is not about to nudge them into putting theory into practice, assured Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) executive director Juan Antonio Perez III, who said that the youth are much better off learning about this sensitive topic from their parents than getting their information elsewhere.

Initial info from peers

“We do not want our young people getting their initial information on sex from their peers or through the Internet without proper guidance and contextualization,” he added, citing a University of the Philippines Population Institute’s 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS) survey, which found that 50 percent of the youth age 15 to 19 have watched pornographic videos.


An analysis of the YAFS findings showed that those who have been exposed to pornography and other sexually explicit materials are “more likely to engage in premarital sex and to have early sexual initiation before age 18,” Perez said.

‘Rare opportunity’

That’s why parents should use this “rare opportunity” to properly guide their kids “during the process of their sexual maturation and in developing their life skills [to] enable them to prevent risky sexual behavior,” he said.

“After the [enhanced community quarantine], we might not have another chance to spend long, precious and quality time with our children. As parents, we should take hold of this opportunity while the rest of the world takes a reset. That includes the way our youth perceives and processes the subject of sexuality,” the Popcom official said.

Such talk can “flatten the curve” in one sort of epidemic, that of teenage pregnancy, Perez said.

The Philippines has the second highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Southeast Asia, according to the 2019 Save the Children’s Global Childhood Report. An estimated 538 babies are born to Filipino teenage mothers every single day in 2017, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported.

The country has also seen a rise in the number of cases of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), with 36 cases a day in 2019, the Health department said. There were 32 cases every day in 2018, 16 in 2014, seven in 2011 and one in 2008.

Online guides

To help guide parents on how they can initiate sex education talk with their kids, Perez said they can access resources through the website www.popcom.gov.ph, or log on to its official Facebook pages “Commission on Population and Development” and “UsapTayoSaFP.”


According to the YAFS survey, exposure to explicit material on sex was higher among teenage boys at 7 out of 10, compared to just 3 out of 10 among their female peers.

Exposure was highest among those from the Caraga region at 66.7 percent and the National Capital Region (NCR) at 66.2 percent.

Among internet users, 23 percent of teenagers admitted to having accessed websites with sexually explicit content.

Segregated by gender, boys are more likely to look up such content online at 41 percent, compared to just 6 percent among girls. Prevalence of such activity was highest in NCR at 36 percent.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, Luzon quarantine, Popcom, Sex Education
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