There are more cases of teenage pregnancy in Davao Region than anywhere else in the country.
Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) survey result conducted in 2017, Davao Region has recorded the highest pregnancy nationwide at 17.9 percent. Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) is second at 14.7 percent and Region 12 (Southwestern Mindanao) is third highest at 14.5 percent. All three regions surpassed the national average rate of 8.6 percent.
Commission on Population and Development Regional Director Bai Agnes Sampulna told media in Habi at Kape that Davao Region is among the highest first three regions in Mindanao having the highest incidence of teenage pregnancies in the country.
“Mataas pa rin ang trend ng teenage pregnancy sa Davao Region,” she said.
She cited As per record of the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) as of June this year there are 1,838 teenage pregnancies in Davao City and a total of 7,636 teenage pregnancies in the first quarter of 2019 in Davao Region.
“In Davao City we cannot count it on Davao residents kasi may ibang hindi taga Davao na nanganganak. Marami ibang taga Probinsya who are minors na dito nagtrabaho at dito na rin nabuntis,” she said.
Due to the alarming rate of teenage pregnancy in the country, the national office of the Commission on Population and Development has raised the red flag against teenage pregnancy and even sought the help of President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an Executive Order (EO) declaring teenage pregnancy as a national emergency to avoid population crisis.
The two National Demographic and Health Surveys (NDHS) conducted in the Philippines in 2013 and 2017 revealed a decreasing proportion of girls aged from 15 to 19 years old who have begun childbearing down 9 percent from 10 percent. Despite this downtrend there were still almost 200,000 women between 10 and 19 years old who gave birth in 2017, according to the Vital Registration of the PSA. The PSA also revealed that adolescent mothers give birth to 24 babies every hour.
“In Davao Region, hindi pa naman tayo alarming but then we are going there. Pag hindi natin na stop yung growth na ganito, we will really going to that alarming situation. That is why we are calling for the campaign kasi pag hindi ito na control papunta na tayo sa emergency. Habang maaga pa kumbaga agapan na natin and not wait for the situation na doon na tayo. We should have a pre-emptive move na para hindi tayo aabot doon. Because we are almost there,” Sampulna said.
To intensify efforts on curbing teenage pregnancy, the commission recently launched “No More Children Having Children” campaign nationwide.
Sampulna said among the efforts they are doing now in the region to stop teenage pregnancy is promoting the establishment of teen centes in public and private schools as well as teen centers in the community for the out -of- school -youth.
According to her there are 103 teen centers in Davao Region established presently and that they are targeting to open more teen centers in all schools and communities in the region.
“We also gathered children with the help of teen faciliators who will identify and address their concerns,” she said.
They are also conducting parents education through the Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs) in different schools.
“Hindi lang mga bata dapat mga magulang din must be oriented on adolescent health. Dapat alam nila ang mga dapat limits ng isang adolescents. We tapped the schools for this and we give lectures. We wanted every parent to join the training para ma-open ang heart nilasamga kabataan,” she said.
Sampulna also cited health risks among teenage mothers such as premature delivery, low birth weight of the baby, neonatal complications and congenital anomalies.