• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Provincial Health Office recorded 5,721 teenage pregnancies in Negros Occidental in 2023, with some mothers as young as 12 years old.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ma. Girlie Pinongan yesterday said they also noted teenage pregnancies are prevalent among the out of school youth.
In the municipality of Don Salvador Benedicto, Pinongan said they were told by Mayor Laurence Marxlen dela Cruz that 52 percent of the pregnant mothers are teenagers.
The Commission on Population and Development Western Visayas has urged parents to guide and monitor the activities of their children, as part of responsible parenthood, as teenage pregnancy in the region has been at an alarming level since 2021.
Pinongan said they have monitored that teenage mothers were as young as 12 years old in the province.
PHO records indicated that there were 35,628 pregnant mothers of all ages last year, while teenage pregnancies were recorded at 5,721.
However, it was less than in 2022, when PHO logged 39,411 pregnant mothers of all ages, with 6,026 teenage pregnancies.
Pinongan stressed the need for teen mothers to visit the child friendly facilities in each of the local government unit health centers, as they also enlisted the help of barangay health workers in their campaign.
According to a study of the University of the Philippines Population Institute, teenage mothers are predominantly poor, reside in rural areas, and have low educational attainment.*