December 5, 2022

Two councilors are seeking the passage of policies to prevent teenage pregnancies and institutionalize social protection for teenage parents.

Councilors Mylen Victoria Yaranon and Levy Lloyd Orcales proposed an ordinance that sought to bolster and augment existing city programs to curb the escalating teenage pregnancy cases more effectively.

The Commission on Population reported 2,422 babies born in 2020 in Baguio and the Cordillera have teenage parents.

The ordinance sought the involvement of concerned government agencies and offices and the barangays to intensify the city’s campaign against teenage pregnancy.

Under the ordinance, the City Health Service Office shall be tasked to collaborate with the City Youth Development Office, Local Youth Development Council, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and other concerned agencies and institutions for the crafting of educational materials that promote age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in schools and in the community.

Reflective of the realities of the contemporary individuals’ sexual behavior, the CSE materials shall be complementary to the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Law.

The ordinance defines CSE as the access to a full range of methods, techniques, and services that contribute to reproductive health and well-being of young people by preventing and solving reproductive health-related problems.

The CSE shall be a compulsory component of education to be integrated in all levels of learning with the end goal of normalizing discussion of sex and gender, adolescent sexuality, and reproductive health and removing the stigma on discussions about sex and sexuality.

To realize the integration of CSE into the curriculum, trainings for teachers, guidance counselors, school supervisors, and school nurses on CSE shall be facilitated by the CHSO in partnership with different agencies and institutions.

A CSE program for out-of-school adolescents and for those with special concerns shall also be initiated under the ordinance.

The city’s barangay health workers shall likewise undergo skills enhancement trainings on consent, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, effective contraception use, disease prevention, HIV/AIDS and other more common sexually transmitted infections, hygiene, healthy lifestyles, prevention of gender and sexual violence, and other necessary CSE-related topics.

The ordinance is a two-fold measure that also seeks to offer social protection to teenage parents to prevent further unplanned pregnancies and to ensure the well-being of the adolescents while assuming the responsibilities of parenthood.

The proposed ordinance has been referred to the committee on social services, women, and urban poor for review and recommendations. – Jordan G. Habbiling