THE Department of Health (DOH)-Northern Mindanao has heightened their focus on addressing teenage pregnancy as the percentage of pregnant teens in the region has gone up.
According to the Philippines National Demographic Health Survey 2017, the percentage of women age 15 to 19 who have begun childbearing in Northern Mindanao is 14.7 percent, the second highest throughout the country after Davao Region at 17.9 percent. The third being Soccsksargen at 14.5 percent.
Elen Santua, development management officer of DOH-Northern Mindanao, said one of the factors to the rise of teenage pregnancy cases in the region is the increase of sexual consciousness of the children brought by television shows about falling in love, as parents will not be able to look after their children everytime they watch television.
Santua added that the DOH has strengthened their monitoring and advocacy in addressing the problem, especially in the education sector.
“Mag focus ta sa mga schools, atong partner and Department of Education para sa gitawag na sexuality education. Tapos ang mga simbahan, apilon nato, values formation. Mga mayor unsay ilang buhatan, naa bay curfew para sa mga bata (We will focus on the schools, we will partner with the Department of Education for sexuality education. We will also include the church for values formation. We will also inquire the mayors if they have issued a curfew for minors),” Santua said.
Police Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, the Police Regional Office-Northern Mindanao spokesperson, for his part, said the police, through its women and children protection desks has recorded high cases of physical violence against women within the age bracket of 16 to 25 years.
“Taas gyud kaayo ang physical injury in terms of violence then ikaduha ang rape base sa atong na encounter na mga kaso (The cases of physical injury in terms of violence is really high followed by rape cases based on the what we encountered) when it comes to violence against women,” Gonda said.
Gonda said physical violence has become rampant due to monetary problem, such as lack of money to buy food and other essentials for babies or children.
Santua, meanwhile, has advised women to carefully plan their pregnancy gaps and to try limiting the number of children they wanted to bear as they have also notice a number of children left in the streets.
“Personally sa ako (for me), as a doctor, I think they should limit the number of their children. Para maagapan nimo sila, dili modaghan kayo (So they can look after their children), some of them naa na sa (are in the) streets because like you cannot feed them,” Santua said.