CITY OF SAN FERNANDO - The City Government of San Fernando sparked anew the revolution towards women empowerment as it kicked-off ahead of March its month-long celebration of National Women’s Month on Monday, February 26, at the city hall with the aim of curbing rising teenage pregnancies here.

Themed “Fernandinang Misasanmetung para keng Panyulung (Fernandinas uniting for progress),” the celebration will be highlighted by series of activities promoting the empowerment and health care of women, particularly mothers.

During the press conference, Mayor Edwin Santiago said this year’s celebration will focus on solving the growing problem of teenage pregnancy, as well as raise awareness on the high risk of pregnancy to the health of young mothers.

Santiago said that the whole country faces a huge problem on the growing number of young women getting pregnant due to lack of education and guidance from their families and society.

According to Local Council of Women chairperson Dr. Leticia Yap, of total pregnancies recorded by the City Health Office (CHO) in 2017, 17 percent were teenage pregnancies.

CHO’s Dr. Carlos Mercado corroborated this and disclosed that 950 cases of teenage pregnancies have been recorded last year on the 19 year old below bracket, including a nine year old girl who bore a child. Most of the cases, he noted, are affected by exposure to social media and “loss of values.”

Santiago stressed that the rising cases of teenage pregnancies here must be addressed immediately.

“Didinan tamung focus ngeni deng kayanakan a kababaihan dahil ngeni, buong bansa, aliwa mu kening keka tamu siyudad, mamarap keng maragul a problema king teenage pregnancy nung nokarin ing kalusugan deng anak tamu at deng anak a dadalan da milalage keng panganib dahil keng teenage pregnancy (Our women’s month celebration is focused on young women because the whole country, not only our city, faces a big problem in teenage pregnancy where the health of young mothers and their children are at risk due to teenage pregnancy),” he said.

As an intervention, Santiago said that the city government continues to conduct information drives among Fernandino students, including boys, on the risk of engaging in sexual intercourse without proper knowledge and consent which often causes pregnancy among adolescent.

“We must strengthen values and impress on our young the implications of this. That is why the city government is pushing hard its programs on being a child-friendly city and family-oriented city where our ideology and belief on being conservative is a policy direction already, back to the time we started this women power revolution,” he furthered.

He added that activities promoting values formation and early childhood development are also being done by the city government in schools and barangays to further educate Fernandinos.

“Metung kareng dahilan ning poverty o kasakitan ing teenage pregnancy at ing aldo-aldo gagawan tamu keng keka tamung siyudad ing solusyunan ing poverty kaya ika tamu ken city government committed para asolusyunan ing problema keng teenage pregnancy (One of the reasons of poverty is due to teenage pregnancy and the city government continues to look for solutions to alleviate poverty in our community that is why we are committed to also solve our problem on teenage pregnancy),” Santiago asserted.

In line with this issue, the city government will hold a seminar on reproductive health and teenage pregnancy for students at the University of the Assumption and City College of San Fernando on March 2 and Responsible Parenting Movement forum on March 21.

Empowerment after equality

City Council Chairman on Women, Children and Family Affair Councilor Angie Hizon said that having achieved equality for Fernandinas, the city government and the local council for women is now moving towards greater empowerment for women.

“It has nothing to do with equality now, so we are moving towards empowerment to solve and teenage pregnancies. Other advocacies like curbing violence against women and children, drug use and providing them assistance are in place,” she said.

“We thank and we are one with Mayor Santiago in this direction to get to the bottom of the problem and help find solutions to these,” added hizon.

"Revolution" again

To boost its programs for women, the City Government through its Gender and Development office headed by focal person Amy Catacutan will hold various activities for Fernandinas including the SAKAY-LAKAD para sa Kagalingan ng Kababaihan at Kaunlaran ng Bayan (March 8), medical and dental mission, and bloodletting activity for women (March 8), several seminars and livelihood trainings, as well as health and wellness program.

The launching of Inter-Barangay Gulayan ng Kababaihan Contest 2018 will also be launched on March 8, while and LGU Inter-Cluster Cooking Contest and Go Nego Kabuhayan Showcase Product Exhibition and Trade Fair is scheduled on March 16 and March 22 to 24, respectively.

Likewise, the Roving Academy discussing Seminar on Good Manufacturing Practices and Product and Process Improvement and Training on “No Bake Cake” is set on March 21 and 22, the All Male Inter-Agencies Quiz Bee on Magna Carta for Women on March 23, Fernandina Mompreneur Fair on March 24, Buntis Summit for Couples on March 23 and Women with Disability Day on the March 26. (With JTD)