March 30, 2021
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Census of 2015, Bukidnon adolescents comprised 23.5% of their population or 1 adolescent out of 5 people. Of that, there are 160,587 ages 10-14 years old while 144,312 are those ages 15-19. In 2019, the province recorded a total of 4,988 live births among adolescents 10-19 years old which is 5.2% higher compared to 4,743 live births in 2015. Of the total teenage pregnancy cases of the province in 2019, 89 cases were from Sumilao of which it went higher to 130 cases in 2020. This poses an urgent call to the policy makers and local implementers to reduce the cases by half this year.
Establishment of teen centers with Information and Service Delivery Network for Adolescent Health and Development (ISDN4AHD) is one of the strategies of the Commission on Population and Development–Region X (POPCOM X) in providing young people with adolescent sexuality and reproductive health (ASRH) information, education, and services. In response to this approach, the local government unit (LGU) of Sumilao, Bukidnon launched “Dangpanan sa Kabataan” Teen Center on March 19, 2021. It was in coordination with the Municipal Health and POPDEV Offices of Sumilao.
In his speech, Dr. Adrian Jed Garrett J. Lucero, the Municipal Health Officer (MHO) expressed his joy for the establishment of the center whom he described as his dream. He was one of the proponents of it with the funding assistance also coming from Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO) of Northern Mindanao. JHPIEGO Northern Mindanao Regional Coordinator, Ms. Coleen Anugon, expressed her appreciation for Dr. Lucero’s active role in the project, as well as the whole community of Sumilao.
POPCOM X Information Officer I, Ms. Feliciana T. Añosa, representing Regional Director Neil Aldrin G. Omega, expressed the office’s heartfelt congratulations and thanksgiving to the people behind the project for their initiatives to fast track the establishment and accreditation of “Dangpanan Sa Kabataan” Teen Center in their municipality. She said, it is very fitting and timely to help address the rising cases of teenage pregnancy not only in Northern Mindanao and the Philippines in general but particularly in Bukidnon being the biggest populated province in Region X and with the highest teenage pregnancy cases. “Thus, this teen center we are launching right now is very important, but should be coupled with the establishment of ISDN4AHD to have a proper referral system on ASRH services as one of the strategies to curb teenage pregnancy cases and risky behaviors of young people in the municipality both in- school and out-of-school. Our objective is not only to address the issues and concerns of our young people, but also to prevent the occurrence of this rising problem”, Ms. Añosa said.
POPCOM X encouraged all the stakeholders and the AY volunteers to be actively involved in the promotion of the teen center and in providing ASRH information, education, and services to the adolescents in the municipality as the task calls for a collaborative effort between and among the stakeholders highlighting the virtue of passion as the top factor that motivates to effectively implement the program.
Sumilao’s Municipal Administrator and the Local Youth Development Officer (LYDO), Ms. Venice Marie P. Villo, assured the group of her strong support for the youth program and the teen center project. She urged the youth volunteers to be optimistic and active for the vision of the center, and the municipality in general.