By URIEL C. QUILINGUING
Contributing Editor .
NORTHERN Mindanao has the second highest number of teenage mothers, whose ages range from 15 to 19 years old, among the country’s 17 administrative regions, an official of the Commission on Population and Development in Region 10 said Thursday.
Popcom regional director Jeremias Gupit, who graced a Talakayan forum, said 14.7 percent or about 33,000 of the region’s 15-19 age-bracket population had their first child-bearing during the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey period.
Gupit said the survey which the Philippine Statistics Authority conducted nationwide that year, showed Region 10 was second only to the 17.9 percent of Davao region (11) while Region 12 (Soccsksargen) was a close third, 14.5 percent.
“This runs counter to the goal and objectives of Adolescent Health and Development programs of Northern Mindanao of reducing teenage pregnancy by 2% per year,” a portion of a Popcom 10 press statement states.
In 2013, region 10’s teenage pregnancy figure was 13 percent while the next round of NDHS and will be conducted three years from now.
Medical officer Liova De Guia of the Justiniano R. Borja City Hospital, who was also a forum discussant, said their average monthly deliveries of 600 validate the PSA survey teenage pregnancy estimates.
“Of the 600, about 20 percent or 120 deliveries were by teenage mothers,” De Guia said, adding that some of them were not first-time moms.
She said that although the city-managed hospital is situated in Cagayan de Oro, yet close to half of the admissions involving pregnant women were from Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental provinces, including El Salvador City.
“Because of teenage pregnancies, all mothers, since 2016, we have required them to undergo family planning and responsible parenthood sessions before they can be discharged,” the medical officer said.
Popcom 10’s Gupit said cases of teenage pregnancies may taper down after last year’s issuance of Department of Education Order No. 31, also known as Comprehensive Sexuality Education for those in junior and senior high schools.