Number of teenage moms decreasing in Cordillera

Frank Cimatu
Non-governmental organizations are instrumental. The Forum for Family Planning and Development, for example, has joined forces with Benguet and Ifugao provinces for the campaign.

EDUCATING TEENS. Advocate Chi Vallido (in photo), along with Kevin de Vera of Forum for Family Planning and Development and Karen Gaqui of Dep-Ed Provincial Health Office, speak to teachers and students of Tublay School of Home on how to prevent teenage pregnancy. Photo by Mau Victa/Rappler

BAGUIO, Philippines – From having the highest rate of teenage pregnancy 5 years ago, Cordillera is now among those with the lowest. 

The Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) reported a significant decline in teenage pregnancies in the Cordillera – from 18.7% in 2013 to only 3.4% in 2017. 

Former Popcom-Cordillera Administrative Region director Rose Fortaleza said recently that mobilizing concerned government agencies and local governments to intensify their information and education campaign was the key. 

Non-governmental organizations were also instrumental in the region’s teenage pregnancy decline ever since the Forum for Family Planning and Development joined forces with Benguet and Ifugao provinces for the campaign.

Last week, for example, advocates Chi Laigo Vallido and Kevin de Vera, in coordination with Benguet Board Member Jim Botiwey, talked to the students of 3 high schools in Benguet with the highest teenage pregnancy incidents. They shared with them strategies on how to avoid early pregnancies. 

On February 19, they went to Benguet National High School in Wangal and later in Puguis. The next day, they talked to Grade 10 and 11 pupils of the Tublay School of Home Industries, where they currently have 10 pregnant students. 

On February 21, the two went to Nangalisan in Tuba, which has 11 cases of teenage pregnancies (up from 10 in 2018) and talked to Grade 10 students of Tuba National High School there. The sessions took almost 4 hours. 

Vallido talked about the national situation and the concepts of the reproductive health (RH) and reproductive rights. She talked about how the law can help the students and the concepts of reproductive health. 

De Vera, a nurse and teacher, talked about the physiological and mental changes within the bodies of adolescents, especially in the RH aspect. He gave them strategies on how to assert themselves and get real information about sex and contraception. De Vera told them about the misconceptions about sex and how to be on top of situations concerning their bodies. 

Earlier, the Forum also gave a workshop to teachers in Benguet on how to deal with students regarding RH. A new component in these sessions is the talk about HIV-AIDS, especially now that the Philippines is in a fast-and-furious pace in HIV infection. – Rappler.com