Official Publication of the Philippine Information Agency Bicol Regional Office, in cooperation with the RIAC-REDIRAS - RDC Bicol

Thursday, September 22, 2016

NYC cites ‘red flags’ on Bicol’s youth stats

By Julius B. Embile

LEGAZPI CITY, September 22 (PIA) – To provide a better grasp of the situation of today’s youth in the Bicol region, the National Youth Commission (NYC) presented the latest statistics and demographics of the youth population in the region.

The said data presentation, entitled “The Bicolano Youth”, was reported to youth advocates and stakeholders during NYC’s Philippine Youth Development Consultation Workshop last September 19 here.

The activity was aimed at gathering ideas and best practices for the formulation of youth development and protection programs in the country.

The data presented in “The Bicolano Youth” included statistical counts, surveyed preferences, and even study of the common disposition of Bicolanos classified as ‘youth’, specifically those between the ages of 15 and 30 years old. The information was collected by NYC in cooperation with other government and private organizations, such as the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DOH), and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

According to the data, 27% (1,464,942) of the total population in the Bicol region has been categorized as youth, while 73% (3,946,579) are non-youth. 52% (767,869) of the said youth population of Region-5 are male, while 48% (697,073) are female.

In terms of youth population in Bicol, Camarines Sur has the largest (500,300), followed respectively by Albay (343,831), Masbate (211,296), and Sorsogon (196,230). Catanduanes (66,034) has the least youth population, followed by Camarines Norte (147,251).

Considering the large size of the Bicol region’s youth population, NYC stressed the need for development, assistance, and protection programs for the adolescent and young adult in the region’s community, specially that studies have identified some ‘red flags’ to be focused on.

As per education, Bicol region may have ranked fifth in the percentage of in-school youths (ISY), but considerably 17% of the youth population who has not had any form of schooling. For those were able to go to school, data shows an apparent ‘over-crowd’ of students enrolled in teaching and business courses, while personal services and transportation course have considerably minimal enrollees.

In the labor aspect, Bicol ranks tenth in the country in terms of percentage of youths in the labor force. It was inferred from the data analysis that more than one in five youth are already working.

What concerns experts is the youth group’s status in reference to health, which reflects a drastic change in moral perceptions and lifestyle in comparison to previous generations.

Research shows only 44.5% of the youths in Bicol exercise at least two to three times a week, and 43.9% or 2 in 5 youths consumes street foods at least once a week. 47.1% of the youth population consumes carbonated drinks or “softdrinks” at least once a week.

Vices also became rampant among teens and young adults, as Bicol region takes the fifth rank when it comes to percentage of youths who smoke tobacco with 19.3%. One out of three youths (33%) in Bicol also admits being liquor drinkers.

 Considerably alarming, according to NYC, is that 3 in 100 (2.6%) of Bicolano youths have used illegal drugs. 7.7% also admitted to have considered committing suicide, which shows a real concern to the psychological health of the young citizens. According to the data collected by NYC from the Commission on Population (POPCOM), the number youth suicide attempts sharply increased between 2002 and 2013, from 2.3% to 3.7%.

Statistics in terms of teenage pregnancy were also presented. Studies shows that 8.8% of females in the region, between ages 15 and 19, have begun childbearing. As of 2013, 7.3% of these teens are already mothers, while 1.2% is pregnant with their first child.

While Region 5 is currently ranked second from the lowest concerning the percentage of teen pregnancy, DOH and still counted a total of 1,647 live births from mothers aged between 15 and 19 years old, and 34 live births from mothers between 10 and 14 years of age.

Experts attribute these incidences of teen pregnancy to the youths’ lack of guidance on sexual matters. Data reveals 34.7% of the youths in Bicol have sexual experiences, 62.9% within the 20 to 24 years age group and 16.2% are between 15 to 19 years of age.

As of the 2013 data, 21.1% of male and 18.4% of female youths in the region had engaged in sexual intercourse before 18 years old. Four in five (84.6%) of Bicol’s youths admits that their first pre-marital intercourse was unprotected against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

Of all these red-flags or point-of-concerns identified by NYC’s research, the commission is still optimistic that such issues may still be resolved. After gathering all the best ideas from their nationwide series of consultation activities, NYC would begin crafting the Philippine Youth Development Program (PYDP) for the years 2017 until 2022 in order to address the said red-flags. (MAL/JBE-PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3301474537731/nyc-cites-red-flags-on-bicol-s-youth-stats#sthash.YGHSWJPh.dpuf

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