The Commission on Population and Development-Cordillera (CPD-CAR) in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Cordillera and the city government of Baguio launched the “Pagkalinga para sa mga Kabataang Magulang” (Pagkalinga) program on Sept. 28.
CPD-CAR Director Cecile Basawil said the program is being piloted in Baguio City due to the rising number of teen mothers recorded here.
Based on the data of the Department of Health Field Health Services Information System, there were 432 mothers aged 15 to 19 years old who gave birth in Baguio City in 2022. Eleven girls aged 10 to 14 years old also gave birth in the city.
Basawil said the number of teen mothers was obtained from the facilities where they gave birth, not their address.
The Pagkalinga program aims to contribute to the better and improved quality of life and well-being of adolescent mothers and their children, especially those who are marginalized and in difficult conditions as they transition to adulthood.
Under the program, 75 young parents aged 18 years and below will receive P500 monthly financial assistance while complying with various conditions such as attendance to responsible parenthood and family planning sessions, gender-sensitive sessions, and adolescent sexual and reproductive health.
Other financial benefits include educational assistance and financial or livelihood assistance.
During the launching, teenage moms were oriented about the health risks of being a young mother and how to protect their children.
“Ang gusto natin, para mas marami kayong oportunidad in the future ay sana ipagpatuloy ninyo ang inyong pag-aaral. Ang gusto natin, later on, hindi kayo ma-exploit or ‘di kaya ‘yung health and nutrition ninyo ay bababa, or in the future na magkakaroon ng sexual abuse,” Basawil said.
DSWD-CAR Director Leo Quintilla assured the support of the agency in advancing youth development.
“Ang DSWD ay katuwang ng CPD sa pagsulong ng mas magandang kinabukasan sa ating mga kabataan. In a world where challenges related to population growth, healthcare and family welfare exist, the government continues to exert its efforts to minimize the impact on the vulnerable sector, especially our youth,” Quintilla said in a message read by Social Welfare Officer IV Libertine Balicdang.
Victor Jimenez representing Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the program is in sync with the mayor’s agenda on youth empowerment despite their situation.
“Our young parents still have a very big chance for a good future. They deserve a fighting chance for a good future not only for themselves but also for the family they are building,” he said.
A partnership agreement was forged between the CPD-CAR and the city government for the pilot implementation of the Pagkalinga program in the city.
The city also agreed to adopt the program as its initiative in addressing issues of adolescent pregnancies in the locality and protecting young parents from its risks and vulnerabilities.
The CPD is optimistic the project will have successful pilot implementation so that it can be rolled out in other provinces in the region. – Debbie E. Gasingan with a report from Jelleson Agang-ang