BANGUED, Abra — Cordillera region officials called for urgent action and more values formation activities for children and parents in community lectures to address the increasing number of children in conflict with the law (CICL) and teenagers who get pregnant.
“Our values have been a problem as far as this issue is concerned. Parents who are the first teachers to give correct values should do their role. I hope that DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) with LGUs (local government units) come up with a program to make this an important issue, with the barangay activities adding values formation in the lectures,” Baguio City Mayor and Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC) Chairman Mauricio Domogan said.
“Because of the problems of the families, the children are being held up without somebody teaching them. Teenage pregnancy is also related to that. Siguro ‘yan ang bigyan natin ng importansiya (Maybe we should give importance to that),” Domogan added.
In a meeting of the Cordillera RDC, DSWD Regional Director Janet Armas reported a rise in the number of children in conflict with the law.
“As of now, there are 72 CICL and they are being provided with intervention, while the LGU counterparts are preparing the families for the eventual re-integration of the children,” she said.
Data provided by the Commission on Population (Popcom) in Cordillera showed a 174.21 percent increase in the number of teenagers delivering babies in different hospitals in the region.
The figure leaped from 504 deliveries recorded in January to June 2016 to 1,382 in the same period this year.
Benguet recorded the highest number with 315, followed by Kalinga (276); Baguio City (259); Abra (186); Apayao (112); Ifugao and Mountain Province (86 each).
Armas said agencies involved in the protection of children are already doing interventions, such as peer counseling, youth development sessions, and medical services, including online medical help, as most of the pregnant teenagers refuse to go to health centers. This is apart from other agencies participating in values re-orientation to help teen moms return to their families.
“We believe that the family should take care of them (teen mothers) because families, as support system before other institutions, will come in as more important,” she said. (PNA)