Based on the 2010 census, Bicol has a total of 1,030,147 youth with ages 15 to 24, who constitute about 5.7 percent of the Philippines’ total youth population of 18 million.
Study showed that 38 percent of Bicol youth read pornographic materials -- 39.7 percent among males and 36.7 percent among females -- while 52.7 percent of the youth have watched x-rated movies, 36.6 percent of them females.
These figures, however, are below the national average, based on the research by Dr. Nimfa B. 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 recently in this city.
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.
The youth also engaged in other media-related sexual activities wherein 8.8 percent had visited websites with sexually-explicit content, 16.5 percent had sent or received sex videos through cellphones or Internet.
Similarly, 4.3 percent had 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 in the report was that Bicol youth engaged in sex at young ages.
The mean age, according to the study at first sex, was 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 and at least 21.1 percent of young males and 18.4 percent of young females had sex before age 18.
The study also said 84. 6 percent of first premarital sexual encounters were unprotected against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Due to this, the Bicol region fertility rate was increasing wherein 7.3 percent of females aged 15-19 were already mothers.
The proportion of women who had begun childbearing generally increased with age.
In national study category, the percentage of young girls aged 15 to 19 who had begun childbearing had more than doubled in 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 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 interviewed in 2013, almost 2 percent had begun childbearing.
This proportion increases as age increased 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 behavior of young Filipino today,” said Prof. Maria Paz Marquez, the author of the paper on adolescent sexual behavior.
Results from YAFS 4 show that 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 were the direct outcome of early and unprotected sex is a subject for further study of the YAFS 4 data, according to the researchers. (PNA) CTB/FGS/RBB/CBD/JSD
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