November 30, 2022

The Department of Education-Cordillera has reported 146 learners enrolled in public schools in the region in 2020 were pregnant.
The DepEd-Cordillera made the report last week as part of the overall regional situation of gender and development (GAD) as chair of the Regional Development Council GAD committee.
Representing GAD committee chair DepEd-Cordillera Director Estela Cariño, Public Information Officer Georaloy Palao-ay reported 139 of the 146 pregnant learners are currently attending school while seven have already dropped out.
He said most of these learners are enrolled in public schools in Benguet, Ifugao, and Mountain Province, while Baguio City, surprisingly, has the least number, being a highly-urbanized area.
Palao-ay said the data was gathered from a quick survey recently as referred by teachers, guidance counsellors, and rural health units of different provinces and municipalities in the region.
From having the highest teenage pregnancy rate among all the regions in the country in 2013, the Cordillera had the least percentage of women 15 to 19 years in 2017 who have begun childbearing based on the National Demographic and Health Survey of the Philippine Statistical Authority.
Describing the recent situation as unfortunate, Palao-ay said the DepEd-Cordillera is closely coordinating with concerned agencies to continuously monitor the learners’ situation given the remote learning setup this school-year due to the Covid-19, for this particular concern as well as other issues affecting learners’ education.
He said DepEd has come up with the Salaknib tan Namnama project, which aims to give assistance to learners from the marginalized sector, living in hard-to-reach areas, and those in vulnerable situations, such as early pregnancy and parenthood, insurgency, and other forms of abuse.
It was piloted at Benguet National High School with 23 learner-beneficiaries, Puguis Elementary School with 20 learners, and 20 learners in Buguias NHS main campus.
The project aims to help target learners rise from their present situation and develop in them that faith to become better and live sustainable lives and for them to develop and regain confidence, self-worth, and moral fiber after experiencing the benefits of guidance and counseling services.
“The project (as a whole) aims to determine the need of a particular learner because we want these learners to really graduate from high school. If they opt to go to college, we will refer them to higher education institutions,” Palao-ay said.
Among its initial partners is the Commission on Population and Development, which assists in providing psycho-social and guidance counseling and modules and other learning materials on sexual education and responsible parenthood. – Hanna C. Lacsamana