Sunday Sep, 19 2021 09:55:06 AM

PopCom-12 celebrates 51st year of journey with Filipino families

GOVERNANCE/POLITICS • 06:15 AM Thu Mar 5, 2020
POPCOM 12 Regional Director Edqin Quijano.

COTABATO CITY - Celebrating its 51st journey in empowering Filipino families, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) XII and the Population Division of the Office of Social Welfare and Development Services-Cotabato City, along with its 30 Barangay Service Point Officers, gathered last February 19 at the POPCOM XII Conference Hall, Cotabato City to revisit the agency’s 51 years of service.

Aside from highlighting POPCOM’s history in the last five decades, POPCOM XII also re-oriented the BSPOs on the new guidelines and updates on Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Program (RPFP), and held a short population quiz with them.

A video presentation of POPCOM’s Journey and a photo exhibit of POPCOM XII’s “Golden Journey and Beyond” also took place.

Echoing the over-all goal of the Philippine Population Management Program (PPMP), the theme for this year’s celebration is “Naglilingkod Tungo sa Matatag, Maginhawa at Planadong Pamilyang Pilipino.”

Empowering individuals and families so they can achieve their fertility goals, avoid adolescent pregnancy, and enabling communities and institutions to integrate population dynamics towards sustainable development initiatives are the core goals of POPCOM.

POPCOM XII Regional Director Edwin Mateo Quijano, in his message, emphasized the pressing issue on the high rate of adolescent pregnancy in SOCCSKSARGEN.

In the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), Region XII ranked third on teen pregnancy with the rate of 14.5% of girls ages 15-19 who have begun childbearing, closely following Northern Mindanao at 14.7%. Davao Region ranked first on adolescent pregnancy in the entire country at 17.9%.

The problem on teen pregnancy has prompted POPCOM and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to declare it as a “national social emergency concern” last 2019.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adolescent pregnancy is a major contributor to maternal and child mortality, and to the vicious cycle of ill-health and poverty.

Early pregnancies among adolescents have major health consequences for adolescent mothers and their babies. Babies born to mothers under 20 years of age face higher risks of low birth weight, preterm delivery and severe neonatal conditions.

Social consequences for unmarried pregnant adolescents may include stigma, rejection or violence by partners, parents and peers. All these poses life-long implications among adolescents that may undermine their capacity to achieve their well-being and their aspirations.

RD Quijano urged the BSPOS of Cotabato City to join POPCOM in intensifying its program advocacies on teenage pregnancy prevention including prevention of repeat pregnancies among teens, during the region’s 51st anniversary celebration.

“We should always encourage our adolescents to not marry at an early age nor engage in too early sexual activities as it will greatly affect their future. The achievement of our development objectives is largely influenced by the population. That is also why we encourage our people to look into limiting the number of their children, so they will have a better future,” Quijano said.

Furthermore, the issue on teen pregnancy has a negative impact to the country’s development. In the 2016 study on teenage pregnancy in the Philippines by A. Herrin, it revealed that the discounted lifetime wage earnings foregone by a cohort of teenage girls 18-19 years resulting from early childbearing is estimated on an average of P33 billion.

Thus, the urgent need to curb teen pregnancy, not only in the region, but in the entire country.

“Aside from addressing unmet need, we should also address the rate of teen pregnancy in our region, especially in our respective barangays. If you know someone in your barangay who is already a teen mom or have gone childbearing, you should prioritize them in your advocacy,” said Director Quijano to the BSPOs.

Over the years, POPCOM XII’s initiatives on its Adolescent Health and Development (AHD) Program aims to contribute efforts to roll-back teenage pregnancy.

This 2020, it will continue to intensify the conduct of advocacy and awareness campaign activities, such as the establishment of Information and Service Delivery Networks including teen centers and U4U Teen Trail, which are directed towards curbing adolescent pregnancy in the region, so they can be healthier and better skilled young people who will actively contribute to nation-building.

By virtue of Executive Order 171 signed by then President Marcos on February 19, 1969, the Commission on Population (POPCOM) was created mainly to undertake, promote, and publish studies and investigations on the Philippine population in all its aspects, and assemble and disseminate technical and scientific information relating to medical, social, economic and cultural phenomena affected by population.

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