Manila Times/Tuguegarao City
Amid a delay in the implementation of the reproductive health (RH) law, the Population Commission (PopCom) has expressed alarm over survey results showing Cagayan Valley with the highest percentage in teenage pregnancy in the country.
Popcom officials said the survey posed an alarm as Region 2 recorded 11.2% pregnant teenage girls in the 15 to 19 years age-group.
“(This is) the highest record in the entire country even surpassing the record of the National Capital Region with only 9.5%,” said Herita Macarubbo, officer in charge-regional director for Region 2.
Macarubbo said teenagers are more susceptible to consecutive pregnancies if not well guided and informed about responsible parenthood and family planning.
“This situation, if not addressed, will later contribute to a rapid increase in population and end in scarcity and depletion of resources,” Macarubbo said.
Rosalinda Marcelino, acting executive director of PopCom, said the problem regarding teenage pregnancy is alarming as “today’s adolescents and young people prematurely experience critical and defining life events such as sex, pregnancy and parenthood.”
Marcelino said starting to have babies at an early age prolongs their reproductive years, thus resulting in high fertility and subsequently to increase in population size, high population growth rate and a high numbers of young population.
“And (this] would necessitate more resources on health, education and food on the part of the government,” Marcelino said.
To address teenage pregnancy and to advocate responsible parenting and family planning in Region 2, the PopCom office has adopted a local theme: “Work for a brighter future. Address teen pregnancy now!” In collaboration with local media practitioners, Macarubbo said this was conceptualised to reiterate that teenage pregnancy has negative results like “maternal death, early marriage, limiting access to education and employment, poverty, domestic violence and the threat of the dreaded HIV-Aids.”
“We have also tied up with religious groups in a memorandum of agreement to provide counselling on ‘Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning’ after they have undergone a series of training from the commission,” Macarubbo said.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended indefinitely its order stopping the government from implementing the reproductive health law but two justices joined ranks with five others against stopping the law’s implementation.