House Committee on Women and Gender Equality chairperson Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba of Bukidnon explains the need to integrate ‘comprehensive’ sexuality education in the academic curriculum during the ‘Ugnayan sa Batasan’ news forum on Wednesday (March 10). (House of Representatives Twitter Account)

The head of the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality on Wednesday (March 10) called on education officials to “fill in gaps” in sex education policies amid rising teenage pregnancies.

The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 has been unable to do this, said Bukidnon Rep. Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba.

“Apparently kulang yung community-based education and information campaign, and even sa curriculum sa formal education. I think we really need to integrate comprehensive sexuality education into our curriculum,” Acosta-Alba said in the weekly news forum “Ugnayan sa Batasan.”

Acosta-Alba defined sexuality education as the teaching of healthy and responsible decisions about sexuality to protect the health of the teenagers.

“We need to equip not only our teachers, but our parents kasi more or less sa culture natin taboo ang pag-discuss ng sex to our children,” she said.

“[Teenagers] have to have a sexuality na safe, responsible and healthy and to really drum it up sa kanila, tungkol sa mga risky behaviors when you engage in early sex and how this will have a detrimental effect on their future,” Acosta-Alba said.

The Commission on Population and Development reported in September that about 40 to 50 Filipino children aged 10 to 14 years old gave birth every week.

A parent agreed with the idea of boosting sex education in the school curriculum to spread awareness among teenagers.

“As a parent, I agree and I would support sex education at school. Sex education can encourage young people to have an awareness and reduce the risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases,” Imelda Nonga told PressOne.PH in an online interview.

Siegfred Aldous Lacerna, a college student, said it was “bothering that we still treat the idea of sex as a taboo.”

“Young people have a right to have an informed knowledge about reproduction and sexual intercourse,” he said.

Shampagne Flores, who got pregnant at 20 years old, said sex education could have helped her when she was curious about sex during her teenage years.

“It was a very taboo topic to open up with your parents because of the lack of education about it. I tended to search the internet but it led me to other information that blew me off,” Flores told PressOne.PH. Hazel N. Camba