Ordinance on teenage pregnancy prevention OK’d
The city council has approved Ordinance 11, s. 2023 or the “Teenage Pregnancies Prevention Ordinance of Baguio City,” which provides for a comprehensive intervention program for the prevention of pregnancies among young people aged 10 to 19 years old.
The ordinance aims to save young people from the physical and psychological hardships of pregnancy and the social and financial difficulties of raising a child at an early age.
The ordinance also complies with Executive Order 141, signed on June 29, 2021 by former president Rodrigo Duterte, mandating as a national priority the implementation of measures to address the causes of teenage pregnancies and mobilizing government agencies for the purpose.
The City Health Services Office reported adolescent births in Baguio have been on the rise for the past five years despite initiatives on adolescent reproductive health being undertaken by concerned agencies and the city government due to factors, which include risky behavior, wrong parental guidance or absentee parents, sexual violence, increased exposure to social media, and limited access to information and services.
Under the ordinance, the foremost action to achieve its objectives and in curbing teen pregnancies is the city-wide implementation of a comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), which is an educational process of providing an accurate, relevant and age-appropriate information on all matters relating to the reproductive system, its functions and processes, human sexuality, attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, interpersonal relationship, affection, intimacy and gender roles, and other related topics.
It aims to develop the maturity of young people regarding sex and reproduction.
The CSE shall be compulsory part of education, integrated at all levels of learning with the goal of normalizing the discussions of sex and gender, adolescent sexuality, reproductive health, and to remove stigma on the discussion of these topics. The materials and modules developed must be evidence-based, medically accurate, rights-based, culturally sensitive and non-discriminatory towards adolescents of different sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
It should be regularly reviewed, updated, and broadened to ensure adequate coverage of concerns such as gender sensitivity, reproductive health choices and responsibilities, and sexually transmitted diseases.
It shall also be designed to strengthen respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including those related to reproductive health, sexuality, population, and development. The materials shall be complementary to the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Law, and should be based on the need for responsible human sexuality and must reflect the realities of current sexual behavior.
The CHSO shall lead the creation and development of educational materials and modules for the promotion of CSE in schools, communities, and other youth institutions in collaboration with the offices of the City Social Welfare and Development, City Youth Development, Local Youth Development Council, and in consultation with the Commission on Population and Development; the departments of Education, Health, Social Welfare and Development; and other agencies and institutions concerned with the development of the youth.
The DepEd shall ensure that the materials and modules produced are culturally-sensitive and age and development-appropriate.
The ordinance also mandates the training of teachers, guidance counselors, school supervisors, school nurses, and barangay health workers on CSE; promotion of CSE on social media and other digital or online communication platforms, CSE for out-of-school adolescents, and those with special concerns; mandatory establishment of functional local adolescent centers for health and development; social protection in cases of sexual violence; regulation on access of minors to pornographic materials and obscene shows; prevention of adolescents’ involvement in other risky behaviors that are facilitative of engagement in sexual activities; integration of local program for the prevention of teenage pregnancy in the Sangguniang Kabataan plans; access to productive health services by adolescents who are engaged in sexual activities with consent from their parents to modern family planning methods with proper counseling by trained service providers; and promotion of male involvement in the prevention of early and unintended pregnancies through programs that include topics such as responsible fatherhood, couples counseling, avoiding gender violence, life-skills, and co-parenting strategies with emphasis to roles and responsibilities of being a father and promotion of their active involvement.
The ordinance also provides Social Protection Service (SPS) for teenage mothers or pregnant adolescents and their partners to prevent repeat of unplanned pregnancies and to ensure the well-being of adolescents while assuming the responsibilities of being young parents.
The SPS includes maternal health services including pre-natal, antenatal, and post-natal check-ups and facility-based delivery; post-natal family planning counseling and services for either or both teenage parents; personal PhilHealth coverage; training, skills development, and support to livelihood programs for the household of the teenage parents; continuing adolescent sexual and reproductive health care for teenage parents; workshops on couples counseling, parenting and positive discipline for the impending parents; and psycho-social support and mental health services for teen mothers and adolescent partners who shall be entitled to maternal and paternal leave; and prohibition of suspension, forced resignation, and other discriminatory acts in the workplace against pregnant girls.
In the implementation of the services, the rights of the adolescents to privacy, confidentiality, and respect for informed consent and cultural values and beliefs shall be also safeguarded.
The city government shall include in its annual budget any amount as may be necessary for the effective implementation of the ordinance.
Copies of the ordinance was submitted to City Mayor Benjamin Magalong for his signature.