In 2014, the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) released the results of the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFSS) and it declare the Cordillera Administrative Region as having the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the country. This prompted several actions between and among partners to address the teenage pregnancy dilemma in the region for the past 2 years.
UPPI, through support from PopCom, also conducted a look into further information to support action aimed at solving the problem. In the Cordilleras, the result of the YAFS further studies were released in a forum on July 21, 2016 at the Prince Plaza Hotel in Baguio City. The forum was also part of the World Population Day 2016 celebration with the theme “Babaenihan: Investing on Teenage Girls.” The World Population day is celebrated on July 11 of every year. Ms. Lyra Borja, Planning Officer IV of PopCom Central Office, presented the background of the YAFS Further studies and the concept behind the World Population Day celebration theme.
PopCom-CAR invited partners from national line agencies, civil society organizations, academe and youth to learn and solicit action regarding the results of the further studies. Dr. Josefina Natividad of UPPI presented the result titled Predictors of early childbearing in the Cordillera Administrative region. The study aimed to find out other factors outside of early sexual engagement that may lead to teen pregnancies among youth aged 15-19 and 20-24 years.
One of the major information that came from the study was how parenting styles actually affect youth in their reproductive health behaviors. The study says that when parents have set clear standards for their children to follow while growing up it is more unlikely that they become pregnant or impregnate their partners in their teens or early 20s. With this, 71.4% of teens growing with parents who had clear standards almost never or rarely become pregnant by the age of 20. Another factor to parental style is the actual presence of parents in the teenage years of these adolescents. The study also found that it is more unlikely that a teen becomes pregnant if both parents are physically available at home while growing up.
Economic conditions were also considered to be irrelevant in determining the likelihood of teen pregnancy in the region. Whether a family is poor or not does not deter the chances of teen pregnancy. By the time, teens reach the age of 18, the rates of teen pregnancies increase for both economic standings. Even rural or urban residence does not really affect the chances. However, educational attainment does bear significant results to avoiding early pregnancies as those who have attained a college education or above are least likely to become pregnant in their teens.
Part of the forum was also soliciting reactions from a panel of partners in the region. One of them was Commissioner Percival Cendaña of the National Youth Commission. He emphasized on the action against CAR being the “epicenter of the teenage pregnancy crisis” with having the highest rates at 18.4% based on the YAFSS 2013 results. He also emphasized creating programs that entail “Parenting the parents” on how to handle reproductive health issues better and how they can become partners in implementing the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health law (RPRH).
The forum also elicited many questions from participants which included partners from DepEd, the youth and even individuals as parents of adolescents themselves. In the end, the youth participants were asked to give their recommendations on what kind of “investments” should be made to end the teenage pregnancy problem in the region. The complete results of the further studies can be seen here.
Thirty three (33) Araling Panlipunan teachers from almost all secondary schools in the province of Abra were trained on the Population and Development Education modules or the PopDevEd. From July 7-9, 2016, the teachers were taught basic concepts on population dynamics, demography, population health & environment and reproductive health using the PopDevEd modules developed by the Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD) and the University of San Carlos in Cebu City.
The Commission on Population-CAR worked with the Department of Education Division office of Abra to bring the teachers to the West Bangued Elementary School for the training. The teachers convened as part of their regular meeting as members of the Association of Araling Panlipunan teachers. The training aimed to equip secondary teachers on the key messages and information on Population and development so that they may contribute more to alleviating reproductive health and development issues among the youth. Each teacher was provided with a copy of the complete book on the PopDevEd module.
The modules were developed by the PCPD together with professors from the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. Its aim is to develop a better integrated approach in discussing the concepts of Population and development for the youth and adding this new module to the existing curriculums in elementary, secondary and tertiary schools. Topics in the module include a values based approach to population health and development, the reproductive system, fertility, boy-girl relationships and marriage. These modules have been developed in several catholic schools & universities and all have been pretested before being collated into the complete guidebook for teachers.
Although the modules were specifically developed for Catholic Schools, its mixture of scientific and spiritual values-based approaches into discussing youth and population development can be applied to existing curriculums of public schools and universities in the country.
The DepEd-Abra Division office committed to also conduct a training for elementary teachers for the same modules in the future.
Fifteen families from the municipalities of Barlig, Bauko, Bontoc, Sabangan and Sadanga participated in the Learning Package for Parent Education (LPPED) Training held on March 21-22 at Bontoc, Mountain Province.
The activity was conducted through the Commission on Population-CAR, Cordillera Parents Federation Incorporated (CPFI) and Provincial Population Office of Mountain Province. This is the first among a series of activities funded by PopCom-CAR, CPFI and LGUs aimed to help improve family well-being in the region
Parents and their teenage children sat through lectures and joined workshops to enrich their knowledge about self-awareness, fertility and reproductive health, roles in the family, and prevention of risks and threats.
To facilitate learning, separate sessions for parents, mothers and fathers, and adolescents were organized to discuss specific topics. However, parents and adolescents were able to learn about their journey in terms of fertility and sexuality in a joint session. This activity also serves as an opportunity for each one of them to express their love, affection and respect for one another.
Through discovering each one’s personality and parenting types, mothers and fathers had the chance to reflect on their own personal experiences. Their knowledge about family well-being was enriched by understanding the importance of family in one’s life. Parents were also able to identify and share the threats and risks they fear might affect their adolescents, and how they can avoid them in their own ways.
The habits of effective parenting and tips on how to improve communication with adolescents were also discussed during the Parents’ Session. Mothers were educated about women’s rights and roles in maternal, natal and child health and nutrition.
While on the other hand, fathers were educated regarding their vital role in their children’s reproductive health, prevention of early sexual encounters among their male children, and their own reproductive health needs. They were also taught about the importance of Family Planning and the prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections and/or HIV/AIDS.
The Adolescents’ Sessions also introduced the concept of self-awareness and setting goals, gender and sexuality. They also actively took part in identifying and portraying the issues of the youth especially on Teenage Pregnancy and Early Sexual Encounters. Along with awareness of their vulnerabilities, they were also taught about prevention and were empowered through Life Skills development.
For the Parents Sessions, PopCom-CAR’s LPPED Modules were used as resource materials. Cordillera Parents Federation Inc. also provided their Adolescent Sexuality and Reproductive Health modules for the Adolescents Sessions.
Six high school provincial and city champions competed in this year’s Regional Population Quiz. Baguio City’s Jose Raphael Duran from Baguio City National High School was proclaimed as champion. Coming in second place is Adriel Caye Javier from Marc Ysrael B. Bernos Memorial National High School of La Paz, Abra. In third place is Christine Gano from Tulaed National High School in Mayoyao, Ifugao. It is also notable that the runners up were both former regional champions in the previous years. The champion, together with runners up, received 101 XSX shirts, cash prizes and plaques.
Through the Regional Population Quiz, high school students demonstrate their knowledge about the Philippine Population Management Program, on the three program components and demography concepts. This promotes awareness among the youth, familiarizing them with the issues on population as well as the interplay of elements affecting population. This year is no different as high school students continue to showcase their proficiency in the Population Program.
The Regional Population Quiz is conducted every year as part of the Regional Festival of Talents. The champion qualifies as the representative of the Cordillera Administrative Region to the National Population Quiz of the National Festival of Talents to be held in General Santos City on February 22-26, 2016. For this year, the focus is on the shift from the 2015 Millennium Development Goals to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The Population Quiz evolved from a barangay-based activity in support of the radio program Gintong Butil in the late 70s. Through this program, listeners learned about population, family planning and were even encouraged to send their questions. The first PopQuiz was held in 1978 in Tarlac where the representative from Cabanatuan City emerged as the winner. In 1981, the PopQuiz was opened to public and private schools in the country. In the 90s, the PopQuiz was institutionalized under the Population Education Program of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports with support from the Commission on Population.