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 “BabaenihanInvesting 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.