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POPCOM-Davao pushes for more teen centers as region records highest teen pregnancies

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THE COMMISSION on Population’s (POPCOM) Davao office has called for more teen centers in public and private schools as well as in communities for out-of-school youth as the region recorded the highest percentage of teen pregnancies nationwide. POPCOM Regional Director Bai Agnes Sampulna said the region currently has 103 teen centers, which serve as educational and support venues, but more are needed to curb the teen pregnancies. Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data show that in 2017, Davao Region had a 17.9% teen rate out of all pregnancies, followed by the Northern Mindanao Region at 14.7% and Soccsksargen (South Cotabato-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-General Santos City) at 14.5%, which are all higher than the 8.6% national average rate. Ms. Bai said the recently-launched campaign “No More Children Having Children” involves educational sessions for teens and parents on adolescent health. “We tapped the schools for this and we give lectures… We also gathered children with the help of teen facilitators who will identify and address their concerns,” she said. POPCOM has asked President Rodrigo R. Duterte to issue an executive order declaring teenage pregnancy as a national emergency to avoid a population crisis. — Maya M. Padillo

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