Councilor expresses alarm as teenage pregnancy cases rise

Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte vowed to review all pending ordinances in the city focusing on adolescents and reproductive health issues after cases of teenage pregnancy surged in Davao Region. 

According to her based on the latest report of the regional office of the Population Commission (PopCom 11) there are 7,000 teenagers, some as young as 10 years old, were reported pregnant in Davao Region.  “Meron report ngayon ang Population Commission in Region 11 that there are 7,000 pregnant teenagers. To be informed na meron na namang ganito, maka-sad because it means our efforts are not enough and we have to do more,” she said. 

Villafuerte, who is also the chair of the Committee on Health, cited factors contributing to the increasing number that include early sexual debut due to social media children have access to websites that are not for them, which pushes them to reach hormones to experiment in early premarital sex. 

She said peer pressure also attributed to the increasing cases especially men or boys mislead girls that sex is the ultimate expression of love. “Makita nila may uyab ang iyang barkada dapat meron din siya or ma-out of place siya kay wala siya uyab and then boys are also pressured na kailangan makuha na nila ang uyab by misleading girls that the ultimate expression of love is sex,” she said. 

Villafuerte said with the current numbers there is a need to intensify efforts in addressing teenage pregnancy particularly in Davao City. “Akala ko we were already doing enough kasi pre-covid we worked so that mag-karoon ng mga teen centers ang mga health centers. There were several conventions that we did that I was a part of. Ako very vocal ko kung muadto ko sa mga barangays and sa aming oplan Kalinaw where I also go to first and second districts, I talked about this issue. In our city andami na nating teen centers sa mga health centers pero titingnan natin. We will work with the BHWs kung kulang pa ba ang mga efforts natin on the ground kasi sinabi din is social lack of access; we will work with parents’ groups to train them kasi I think reproductive health really begins at home.”

Villafuerte will also review if there are pending ordinance on adolescents. She said she will be reaching out to Councilor Pilar Braga in making sure that reproductive health will be integrated in the curriculum.

Villafuerte bared plans to work with Councilor Che Che Justol’s Committee on Women and Children and ask for pending ordinances that will allow her to insert reproductive health and teenage pregnancy. 

“So that we can advocate to prevent teenagers from becoming pregnant. Everybody in our society needs to work on this such as the health professionals, educators, government, executive department, DOH, city population. Let us help our teenagers to make right decisions when the situation calls for it. Today while everybody is at home is the perfect time to talk to your children who are also with you now. Take advantage of the time that both of you are at home at kausapin ang anak tungkol sa topic na ito before it’s too late,” Villafuerte said.