THE Commission on Population and Development in Central Visayas (PopCom 7) started 2021 with the resolve to curb teenage pregnancy by conducting seminars and training for the youth.
A trainers’ training for adolescents in line with PopCom’s Adolescent Health and Development Program (AHDP), one of the agency’s flagship programs under the Philippine Population Management Program (PPMP), was conducted on Jan. 22 to 25, 2021 at Alta Garden Resort in Cordova town, Cebu.
A series of AHDP-related seminars then took place in February, the month when PopCom celebrates its founding anniversary.
The Cordova seminar was attended by 40 participants representing eight local government units in Cebu Province—Lapu-Lapu City, Talisay City, Naga City, Danao City, Bogo City, Alcoy, Barili and San Remigio.
The activity was facilitated by the officers of Cebu Adolescent Health Youth Association led by its president, Ronclark Dagohoy of San Remigio, under the mentorship of Carl Dave B. Ang, PopCom 7 population representative.
The trainers’ training’s aim was to update the content and methodology of the H.E.A.R.T. to H.E.A.R.T. Teen Talk and the Parent-Teen Talk of PopCom. (H.E.A.R.T. stands for HIV, AIDS & STI; Early Adolescent and Reproductive Health and Teenage Pregnancy).
The training was composed of level one and level two of PopCom’s ladderized training for adolescents. Levels three to four will also be conducted with the same batch in a separate schedule.
The complete training allows youth participants to graduate as peer educators and peer facilitators. Included in the training was the module on parent-teen talk, which was participated by population officers of Lapu-Lapu City, Talisay City, Danao City, Naga City, Bogo City, Alcoy, Barili and San Remigio.
The activity was a face-to-face training, but it was conducted with strict adherence to health protocols with participants wearing masks, face shields and observing physical distancing.
The training prepared the youth trainers for conducting similar seminars (termed by PopCom 7 as rollout seminars) in their respective local government units.
The trainers will invite more teenagers who will become active peer educators, peer facilitators and peer counsellors themselves in the existing teen centers.
A series of in-person rollout seminars were conducted from Feb. 14 to 17 with strict adherence to health protocols in the context of the pandemic. Valentine’s Day was celebrated with “Quaranteen Talks” in Naga City with the members of the Naga Adolescent Health and Youth Development Advocates and in Barili, Cebu with the members of Bisyo (Barili Interconnected Services for Youth Organization).
In Talisay City, the “House to H.E.A.R.T. Talk” was conducted by peer educators also on Valentine’s Day. The rollout for parent-teen talk seminars was conducted in Danao City and in Bogo City with the members of the Bogo Responsible Adolescents for Health & Development last Feb. 17.
Central Visayas has a total of 11 local government unit-based teen centers, and the organized youth takes care of these teen centers themselves under the guidance of population officers.
The Philippines has recorded a seven percent increase in births among girls aged 15 and below in 2019, an increase from the figure on teenage pregnancies in 2018. Outside Luzon, the highest number of minors who gave birth were in Northern Mindanao with 4,747 cases, Davao Region with 4,551 and Central Visayas with 4,541.
PopCom cites the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority which reveals that Filipino minors who gave birth in 2019 increased to 62,510 from 62,341 in 2018. This is the ninth consecutive year that the country has reported a rise in teenage pregnancies.
In 2019, 2,411 girls considered as very young adolescents aged 10 to 14 gave birth, almost seven births every day. This was a three-fold increase from 2000 when only 755 from this age group gave birth. One in three births among minors occurred in the regions of Calabarzon with 8,008, National Capital Region with 7,546 and Central Luzon with 7,523 births.