Lingayen, Pangasinan-In an effort to address the rising rate of teenage pregnancy in the province, SPM Shiela Marie F. Baniqued and SPM Rosary Gracia P. Perez-Tababa authored an ordinance on the Teen Pregnancy Reduction Program of the province.
During one of its committee hearings, the Adolescent Health and Youth Development Program under the Family Health Cluster of the Provincial Health Office revealed that there is a steady rise in the number of recorded pregnancies in Pangasinan.
It was further noted that most recorded teenage pregnancies come from 3rd to 5th-income class municipalities.
Teenage pregnancy has been attributed to early sexual debuts,lack of access to comprehensive sex information, and education. Parents, who are identified by adolescents as one of their preferred sources of information on sexual reproductive health, have limited communication skills, lack access to family planning services, the cultural practices of early union, and a lack of adolescent sexuality and reproductive health (ASHR) policies and their full implementation.
Apparently, due to the current rate of adolescent pregnancy, this concern has been regarded as a national social emergency affecting the holistic health and total development of an individual, including profound implications for the family, community, and the country’s overall socio-economic development.
In addressing issues related to teenage pregnancy, the passage of said legislation was vital because teenage pregnancy robs a girl of a better future, not only for herself but also for her children.
However, this can be addressed by empowering young people to make informed decisions about their lives.
Thus, there is a call for collective efforts from all sectors of society, including the government, private sectors, civil society organizations, communities, parents, caregivers, and the entire citizenry, including the youth themselves.
The Provincial Adolescent Health Development Council (PAHDC), headed by Gov. Ramon V. Guico III, will be the overall coordinating body for the formulation and implementation of the Adolescent Health Development Program Strategy and Plan of the province, with emphasis on the reduction of unintended teen pregnancies and adolescent childbirths.
(Chona C. Bugayong / PIMRO)