Young mothers nurse their babies in a health facility. In Eastern Visayas,
POPCOM VIII said 7 percent of teenage girls are already mothers. PNA FILE PHOTO

 In line with the nationwide rollout of the social protection program for adolescent mothers and their children (SPPAMC), the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) has welcomed the City of Ormoc in Leyte as the pioneering local government unit (LGU) to pilot the beneficial scheme.

This positive development in the government’s drive to provide holistic protection for the said vulnerable members of society was announced when Mayor Richard I. Gomez signed the Ormoc City Executive Order (EO) 216 early this month. The document stipulates the continued provision of “opportunities for education, access to health services and other assistance [safeguarding a better quality of life, while reducing poverty incidence and other vulnerabilities to serve] the best interests of the City and its constituents…”

In the EO, Gomez and city officials recognized that “one of the emerging threats to the development of adolescents and youth is the increasing incidence of pregnancies, particularly among young girls.” They said the social malady “can seriously hinder [the young] from realizing their aspirations and potentials; thus affecting their capacity to contribute to the socioeconomic development of their families and communities.”

The order was also signed after the Sangguniang Panlungsod passed a resolution authorizing the city government to enter into a memorandum of agreement with POPCOM, and allocate counterpart funds for SPPAMC from the LGU.

POPCOM VIII Regional Director Elnora R. Pulma, MMPM lauded the city government for being the first LGU in the Philippines to collaborate with the agency for the SPPAMC: “With commendations to the city for recognizing the value of the program, I believe that Ormoc—with the able leadership of Mayor Gomez—will encourage other LGUs in operationalizing the same in their area. They can be assured of our agency’s full and unwavering support for its successful implementation.”

Quoting data from the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Civil Registration and Vital Statistics of 2019, the regional director revealed that the Eastern Visayas Region logged in 7,000 pregnancies among teens in 2019, with at least eight young mothers who had already given birth when they were 13 years old. She said the SPPAMC being enabled in Ormoc City will encourage these youth to rise above their conditions, and still be productive citizens.

‘Tangible manifestation:’ Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio A. Perez III, MD, MPH welcomed Ormoc City’s piloting of the SPPAMC, as it demonstrates the government’s inclusive and holistic approach in addressing issues on teen pregnancy.

“The SPPAMC is the national government’s tangible manifestation in ensuring no one is left behind in terms of progress and development—including almost 200,000 young Filipino mothers and their kids,” POPCOM’s executive director explained. “We know their situation can adversely affect their future and potential. Without proper interventions such as the SPPAMC, they could be trapped into a vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty.”

“As a whole, the SPPAMC’s message is that all is not lost for the said marginalized members of our society, and that their government is working to provide hope and a possible rebound toward an ideal quality of life them,” Perez added.

He cited a special provision in Republic Act 11518, or the General Appropriations Act, for Fiscal Year 2021, which states that POPCOM “shall develop a recommendation for a special protection program for teenage mothers and their children.” In compliance, the agency has developed the SPPAMC based on the approved Social Protection Operational Framework and Strategy, which will include a pilot implementation of proposed interventions in select partner-LGUs, with Ormoc City being the first of them.

The POPDEV undersecretary expects other LGUs will follow Ormoc City’s lead, as POPCOM has received numerous letters of intent for pilot implementation of the program in their areas of responsibility. They are Dagupan City (Pangasinan) in Region I; Lallo and Solana (Cagayan), Maddela and Diffun (Quirino) and Roxas (Isabela) in Region II; as well as Mabalacat City (Pampanga) and Meycauayan (Bulacan) in Region III.

The activation of the SPPAMC with Ormoc City, the POPCOM chief noted, serves as a prelude to the observance of Population and Development Week from Nov. 23 to 29, which focuses on building the foundation of Filipino families for the nation’s growth. The SPPAMC is being conducted nationwide with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The LGU’s move, he said, is a complementary response to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s enactment in June 2021 of EO 141, which directs “government agencies and other instrumentalities to adopt as a national priority all measures that can address the root causes of the rising numbers of adolescent pregnancies in the country.”

Initial implementer: Ormoc City’s rollout of its SPPAMC was activated by a letter of intent from Gomez for his constituency to be included in the initial implementation of the SPPAMC, which POPCOM’s Eastern Visayas Regional Office promptly approved. The Sangguniang Panlungsod, via Resolution 2021-297, authorized the local chief executive to formalize the agreement with POPCOM VIII  for the operation of the SPPAMC in his locale.

The city recognizes the vital role of Ormocanon youth in local development while committing to the promotion of their well-being and holistic growth as a priority development plan. It effectively became an implementing model to the establishment of the SPPAMC in other local governments under the principles of LGU devolution, by way of its partnership with POPCOM.

Gomez likewise directed the creation of a project management team specifically focused on ensuring the successful implementation, coordination, teamwork and synergy among various departments and offices of the LGU involved in the pilot rollout. Among others, it is tasked to oversee the programs execution, ensure the city government’s compliance to the SPPAMC MOA, and ideating sustainability strategies for project gains institutionalization. Future SPPAMC LGU implementers are also urged to do the same. ###

Lungsod ng Ormoc ang pinakaunang tumugon sa pagpapatupad:

Pambansang programa para sa ‘social protection’ ng mga batang nanay at kanilang mga anak, nagsimula na

Kaugnay sa pambansang pagpapatupad ng programa para sa ‘social protection’ ng mga batang nanay at kanilang mga anak (social protection program for adolescent mothers and their children, o SPPAMC), ipinahayag ng Komisyon sa Populasyon at Pagpapaunlad (POPCOM) na ang Lungsod ng Ormoc ay ang pinakaunang lokal na yunit ng gobyerno (local government unit, o LGU) na magpapatupad ng nasabing proyekto.

 Ang positibong layunin ng gobyerno na magbigay ng malawakang proteksyon para sa mga naturang mga miyembro ng lipunan ay inihayag nang lagdaan ni Mayor Richard I. Gomez ang Ormoc City Executive Order (EO) 216 sa pagsisimula ng Nobyembre. Nakasaad dito ang tuluy-tuloy na pagbibigay ng pagkakataong makapag-aral, serbisyong pangkalusugan at iba pang tulong na magsisiguro ng mas magandang kalidad ng buhay, habang ibinababa nito ang paglaganap ng kahirapan at iba pang klase ng kahinaan o “vulnerabilities” para sa kabutihan ng lungsod at mga nakatira doon.

Sa pamamagitan ng EO, kinilala ni Gomez at mga opisyal ng lungsod na isa sa mga panganib sa pag-unlad mga mga kabataan ay ang pagdami ng bilang ng mga nabubuntis sa hanay ng mga batang babae. Ayon sa kanila, ang naturang salot ng lipunan ay seryosong hadlang sa katuparan ng mga hangarin at pangkabuuang potensyal ng kabataan, na siya namang makaka-apekto sa kanilang kakayahan na makapag-ambag sa “socioeconomic” na pag-unlad ng kanilang mga pamilya at komunidad.

Ang EO ay nilagdaan matapos magpasa ang Sangguniang Panlungsod ng isang resolution na nagbibigay kapangyarihan sa “city government” na lumagda sa isang “memorandum of agreement” kasama ang POPCOM, at nagtatalaga ng pondo para sa SPPAMC mula sa LGU.

 Pinapurihan ni POPCOM VIII Regional Director Elnora R. Pulma, MMPM ang gobyernong panlungsod sa pagiging pinakaunang LGU sa Pilipinas na makikipag-ugnayan sa ahensya para sa SPPAMC: “Sa pagkilala ng lungsod sa kahalagahan ng programa, naniniwala ako na ang Ormoc—sa mahusay na pamumuno ni Mayor Gomez—ay maghihikayat sa iba pang LGU na ipatupad din ito sa kanilang mga lugar. Makakaasa sila ng buong suporta ng ahensya sa maayos na pagpapatupad nito.”

Mula sa datos noong 2019 ng Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Philippine Statistics Authority, sinabi ng regional director na ang Eastern Visayas ay nakapagtala ng 7,000 bilang ng mga nagbuntis na mga kabataan noong nasabing taon. Di hihigit sa walong batang nanay ang nagsilang noong sila ay 13 taong gulang. Aniya, ang SPPAMC na gagawin sa Ormoc City ay maghihikayat sa mga kabataan na mapagtagumpayan ang kanilang sitwasyon, at maging produktibong mamamayan.

‘Nakikitang katunayan:’ Ikinalugod ni Undersecretary para sa Populasyon at Pagpapaunlad (Population and Development, o POPDEV) Juan Antonio A. Perez III, MD, MPH ang pagpapasimula ng SPPAMC sa Lungsod ng Ormoc, dahil ipinapahayag nito ang malawakan at magkasamang hakbang sa pagtugon ng mga isyu kaugnay sa mga pagbubuntis ng kabataan o “teenage pregnancy.”

 “Ang SPPAMC ang nakikitang katunayan na tinitiyak ng pambansang gobyernong na walang maiiwan sa progreso at pag-unlad—kasama na ang halos 200,000 na batang magulang at kanilang mga supling,” paliwanag ng executive director ng POPCOM. “Alam namin na ang kanilang kalagayan ay lubhang makakaapekto sa kanilang kinabukasan at potensyal. Kung walang sapat na programa tulad ng SPPAMC, maaaring malugmok sila sa kahirapang tumatagal nang ilang henerasyon, o ‘intergenerational poverty.’”

“Sa kabuuan, ang mensahe ng SPPAMC ay: Hindi pa huli ang lahat para sa mga nangangailangan; na ang kanilang gobyerno ay kumikilos upang mabigyan sila ng pag-asa, at maaari silang makabawi upang makamit ang magandang kalidad ng buhay,” dagdag ni Perez.

Aniya, ang isang probisyon sa Republic Act 11518, o ang General Appropriations Act sa Fiscal Year 2021, na nagsasabing ang POPCOM ay magmumungkahi para sa isang “special protection program” para sa mga batang nanay at kanilang mga anak. Bilang katuparan, ginawa ng ahensiya ang SPPAMC base sa na-aprubahan na “Social Protection Operational Framework and Strategy,” na may kasamang paunang pagpapatupad ng minungkahing programa sa mga piling partner na LGUs. Isa ang Ormoc sa mga nauna dito.

Inaasahan ng POPDEV undersecretary ang ibang LGU na susunod sa Ormoc City, dahil nakatanggap na ang POPCOM ng ilang mga “letters of intent” para sa “pilot implementation” ng programa sa kanilang mga lugar. Ang mga ito ay ang Dagupan City (Pangasinan) sa Region I; Lallo at Solana (Cagayan), Maddela at Diffun (Quirino), pati ang Roxas (Isabela) sa Region II; kasama ang Mabalacat City (Pampanga) at Meycauayan (Bulacan) sa Region III.

Sinabi ng pinuno ng POPCOM na ang pagpapatupad ng SPPAMC sa Ormoc ay nagsisilbing panguna sa selebrasyon ng Linggo ng POPDEV mula Nobyembre 23 hanggang 29. Layon nito ang pagbuo ng pundasyon ng mga pamilyang Pilipino para sa pagunlad ng bansa. Ang SPPAMC ay isinasagawa sa buong bansa kasama ang Department of Social Welfare and Development, o DSWD.

Ayon kay Perez, ang hakbang ng LGU ay isang marapat na tugon sa paglagda ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte noong Hunyo 2021 ng EO 141. Pinapa-una nito sa lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno at iba pa nitong sangay o “instrumentalities” na gawing pambasang prayoridad ang lahat ng mga gawain na maaaring tumugon sa mga pinagmululan o ugat ng paglaki ng dami ng pagbubuntis ng kabataan o “teenage pregnancy” sa bansa.

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