December 9, 2022

The Commission on Population-Cordillera is advising parents and teachers to be involved and to know the schedules and activities of young children and students to prevent teen pregnancies.

PopCom-Cordillera Director Magdalena Abellera said anything unusual such as sudden change in the normal schedule of activities or behavior of teenagers c must be looked into.

She said while parents are busy with their work, finding time to be with their children is a must.

Abellera said statistics show the region has recorded a 46 percent increase in teen pregnancies from 2019 to 2020.

Data provided to the Philippine News Agency show there were 2,422 youths aged 11 to 19 years old who got pregnant in 2020, much higher than the 1,654 data in 2019.

Benguet recorded the most incidents of teen pregnancies logging a 272 percent increase, or from 97 cases in 2019 to 361 in 2020. Apayao followed with 141 percent, or from 157 incidents in 2018 to 379 in 2020.

Abra recorded a 62 percent increase with 238 cases in 2019 to 386 in 2020; Ifugao has 255 in 2019 and 329 in 2020; while Baguio City recorded 350 cases in 2019 and 445 in 2020.

On the other hand, Kalinga and Ifugao recorded a drop in cases in 2020, listing 418 cases in 2019 and 225 in 2020, while Mountain Province recorded 297 in 2020 from 469 in 2019.

Records also show there were 21 live births in 2019 and 20 live births in 2020 involving children and teeners aged 10 to 14.

“We still have very young girls becoming pregnant and having a baby. The youngest in the Cordillera in 2019 was 11 years old. We are still confirming the age of the youngest mother in 2020,” Abellera said.

She said they are now conducting training for teachers on teen pregnancies to allow them to help abet the problem by incorporating the to-pic in their lecture.

PopCom also holds training for counselors, barangay health workers, and population volunteers.

She said lobby groups must also push the creation of legislative policies to further protect young mothers and the youth from becoming teen parents.

Abellera said they want to boost parent-teen talk groups and peer interventions like life skills programs as a prevention measure.

When teen pregnancy already exists, she said the focus is to prevent a succeeding pregnancy.

“For the young mothers who are already living with the father of their child, as much as possible, we would like to avoid another pregnancy so that the young mother can still have the chance to care for herself and hopefully finish a degree and have a better future,” she said.

“It is equally important that civil society, the community, and especially parents and family members help protect the children in experiencing teenage pregnancies,” she added. –PNA