TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, (PIA) – Various agencies which are members of the Adolescent Health and Development (AHD) Regional Technical Working Group (TWG) have laid their programs and commitments to help the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) to address teenage pregnancy in the region.
In a meeting organized by POPCOM to formulate the Regional Implementation Plan of Executive Order 141 “Adopting as a National Policy the Implementation to Address the Root Causes of the Rising Number of Teenage Pregnancies and Mobilizing Government Agencies for the Purpose”, Regional Director Herita Macarubbo said there is a need for all agencies to exert efforts to reach adolescents especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) to address the problem.
Under EO 141, various activities can be done such as educating the youth on sexual and reproductive health, even in a non-formal setting, and normalize respectful dialogue on sexual and reproductive health matters; providing youth-friendly and rights-based measures to support pregnant girls and young mothers to continue and complete their education; formulating retention strategies and life skills programs for pregnant girls and young mothers, which may include vocational training opportunities.
Sangguniang Kabataan are encouraged to develop interventions to arrest and prevent all known causes of adolescent pregnancies, and support adolescent mothers and endeavor to identify and implement viable programs, projects and activities and allocate a portion of their budget as necessary.
Macarubbo said we should dare to care because adolescents and young people are the foundation of our future and the significant contributor to current development but they are facing risks and vulnerabilities including adolescent pregnancies.
When girls become mothers, Macarubbo said they are prone to maternal and infant death, they tend to stop their schooling and thus with no skills, they are often unemployed and/or exploited, they have low-esteem and negotiating power, poor health and nutritional status, prone to sexual abuse, socially excluded among others.
As per Civil Registration & Vital Statistics report (2018) of the Philippine Statistics Authority, births among minor mothers are generally sired by older fathers ages 20 and above.
In that year, there were 48 births from a 12 years old mother; 289 births from 13 year old mother; and 1,900 and 7,334 births from age 14 and 15 mother respectively sired by fathers between 20-29 years old.
According to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey, about 3.6% of adolescent women ages 15-19 reported of experiencing violence during pregnancy.
While region 2 succeeded in achieving a decrease in the cases of teenage pregnancy in the region through its various programs, projects and activities, there’s a need to do more, Macarubbo said. (GVB/PIA Cagayan)