Ardizon T. Arsua
POPCOM-10 Regional Director Jeremias C. Gupit revealed alarming information on population trend in Northern Mindanao.
“As projected, there were about 79,000 babies born per year from 2010 to 2015. This is equivalent to nine (9) babies born per hour and this is quite alarming”, Director Gupit said. What is most alarming, however, is that more than 10% of these babies are born from teenage mothers.
To address the said issue, Director Gupit emphasized the importance of educating couples on responsible parenthood and family planning (RP-FP). “There are lots of couples who want to limit or space the numbers of their children but fail. This failure is the result of lack of information and services on RP-FP”, Director Gupit added.
Aside from RP-FP, he also stressed the need for age-appropriate sexuality education in schools. Based on the result of 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study in Region 10, there has been an increase in numbers of teenagers engaged in early sexual encounters (ESE). “The worst case scenario here is that, those engaged are getting YOUNGER as 90% of these sexual encounters among young people are unprotected against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and AIDS”, Director Gupit said.
YAFSS4 2013 indicated that incidence of teenage pregnancy in Northern Mindanao has more than doubled compared to the previous survey in 2008.
During the interview, Director Gupit made a call to everyone to act on this matter. He mentioned some POPCOM initiatives like mobilizing Barangay Population Volunteers (BPVs) to conduct home visits and share information on RP-FP to couples, conduct Adolescent Health and Youth Development (AHYD) activities like Adolescent Sexuality and Reproductive Health classes and U4U roll-outs, strengthening linkages with local government units and other partner agencies for a collaborative approach to these concerns.
“This is a great challenge to all of us, which calls for partnership among government and private sectors to meet the problem” Director Gupit concluded.