Young ‘Maria Claras’ now rare Pinay breed — study PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 31 May 2016 13:43

By DOMINIC I. SANCHEZ

A recent study conducted by a local educator here confirmed not so surprising statistics – the archetype of a “Dalagang Filipina” or “Maria Clara” is not anymore applicable to majority of young ladies due to sexual activities.

“Dalagang Filipina” or “Maria Clara” is a Filipino colloquial term that describes a traditional lady who is childlike, well-intentioned, well-bred, and innocent, contrary to the modern, liberated and more adventurous Pinay.

In said study conducted by Dr. Rosalyn Echem of the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), it was found out 31.6 percent of female girls aged 15-24 years old have already at least once engaged in pre-marital sex. The basis of her study, The 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFS) administered to about 1,000 young men and women in region 9 reinforces this finding.

“In 2002, only 11.9 percent of young ladies said they had engaged in premarital sex. The number nearly tripled in a span of ten years – in 2013, they are already 31.6 percent,” Dr. Echem explained. In addition to this, the study reveals that even youth as young as 13 years old have already experienced having sex.

“Wala na tayong ‘Maria Clara’,” she mused. (We don’t have ‘Maria Claras’ anymore.)

Most of the youth respondents admitted that their first sexual encounter was borne out of “love”, and that the encounters were unplanned. As a result, the region has 92 percent of youth engaging in unprotected sexual initiation.

Incidences of teen pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise as a consequence, said Dr. Echem.

The study reveals further that majority of the sex occurs at their homes, and some in boarding houses and motels.

Another peculiar finding is that most of the youth who engage in premarital sex are idle, such as out-of-school youths.

Dr. Echem urged policy-makers to heed the statistics, and come up with more penetrative programs to address the resulting issues such as STDs and teenage pregnancy.

“The Department of Health (DOH) and the Population Commission (POPCOM) must now really engage the youth, parents and the communities,” she said, adding that programs on values formation, negotiation and life skills in terms of reproductive, sexual and health rights can be effective advocacy tools.

Forum participants during Dr. Echem’s presentation gave opinions on the matter. Some spoke out that “we cannot diffuse a bomb that has already exploded”, referring to preventing the youth from having sex at all. “They will still find a way if they really want to”, commented another participant, “but what matters now is how to educate them to be responsible with sex”. (DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City)