LGUs in Caraga urged to help address rising teenage pregnancy

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/16 August)—The Commission on Population (PopCom) has urged local government executives in Caraga region to help address the alarming number of teenage pregnancy in the area.

Alexander Makinano, POPCOM Caraga acting director, said that Caraga region topped the teenage pregnancy rate in the country with a rating of 15.3 percent based on the 2011 Family Health Survey.

He said that if the increasing trend of teenage pregnancy continues, it would have “demographic implication to childbearing as this lengthens the reproductive period of women leading to higher fertility.”

In a press conference Thursday, Makinano urged local government units (LGUs) to do their part and conduct effective interventions to prevent the alarming rate of teenage pregnancy from worsening.

He said that apart from demographic implications, early pregnancy has also negative psychosocial consequences on the part of the pregnant adolescents.

Makinano said that in the Philippines, 53 births per 1,000 women involved those aged between 15 to 19 years old, the highest among ASEAN’s six major economies.

He said that PopCom has organized a “Student Leaders’ Congress” in collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education and the Caraga Youth Leaders’ Network to advance the advocacy against teen pregnancy in the campuses.

Makinano noted the agency has programs for the youth aimed to help adolescents avoid risky sexual behaviors like pre-marital sex, smoking, alcohol drinking and drugs to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancies, early marriages, sexually transmitted infections and other psycho-social concerns.

He said their office will provide “age-appropriate and values-laden sexuality education” for the youth in partnership with the LGUs and other stakeholders.

Rosalinda Marcelino, PopCom acting executive director, said that 9.5 percent of women in the country aged 15 to 19 years old are already mothers or pregnant with their first child.

As of May 1, 2010, the country has a total population of 92,337,852, according to the National Statistic Office. (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)