Over 300 students of the Roxas National Comprehensive High School (RNCHS) in Roxas municipality are shown in this photo while attending the teenage pregnancy symposium on January 21. It was organized for them by the POPCOM and the PSWDO in partnership with the Roxas-MSWDO and DepEd. (Photo courtesy of the Palawan Provincial Information Office)

Eleven towns in Palawan are included in the Top 27 Municipalities in the MIMAROPA region with the highest cases of teenage pregnancy, a planning officer from the Commission on Population (POPCOM) said.

Mark Laurence Guilles, POPCOM-Mimaropa planning officer IV, said teenage pregnancy is also high in Puerto Princesa City.

“Unfortunately, sa Palawan I believe meron tayong 10 or 11 na municipalities na included doon sa ating top 27. Sila iyong may pinakamatataas na kaso ng teenage pregnancy and unang-una nga dito kasama ang Puerto Princesa City,” he said.

(Unfortunately, I believe in Palawan there are 10 or 11 municipalities that are included in the Top 27. They are the towns were high teenage pregnancy cases have been recorded, and also included and first is Puerto Princesa City.)

He said among the municipalities included in the list are Aborlan, Quezon, Roxas, Coron, Taytay, San Vicente, and Bataraza.

Guilles said that in the past three years, the province has been consistent in topping the list with around 12,000 cases.

He was in Palawan recently for the Teenage Pregnancy Symposium in Roxas and Aborlan from January 21-24 with the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) in cooperation with the Municipal Social Welfare Development Office (MSWDO) of Roxas and the Department of Education (DepEd).

The symposiums were attended by over 1,300 high school and college students in both towns.

Guilles said the events were part of the POPCOM’s aim to prevent teen pregnancy under the Adolescent Health.

“Basically, gusto natin i-increase ‘yong awareness ng ating mga kabataan on how to avoid sexual activities, dahil hindi pa talaga sila dapat nakikipagtalik. Second, to avoid teenage pregnancy and, of course, to avoid acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS),” Guilles informed the students during the symposiums.

(Basically, we want to address the awareness of our young people on how to avoid engaging in sexual activities because they’re not supposed to be intimate with anyone yet. Second, to avoid teenage pregnancy and, of course, to avoid acquiring STIs, especially HIV which can lead to AIDS.)

Dennis Abacial of the Palawan Provincial Health Office (PHO) said the province is leading in the MIMAROPA with the highest HIV and AIDS cases.

“Ang Palawan po ay No. 1 sa buong rehiyon ng MIMAROPA na mataas ang kaso ng HIV and AIDS so kaya po kami nandito upang ibahagi ang mga kaalaman patungkol dito lalo na po sa mga kabataan tulad ninyo,” Abacial said.

(Palawan is No. 1 in the whole MIMAROPA where cases of HIV and AIDS are high and this is the reason why we are sharing knowledge about it, particularly to the young people.)

POPCOM and its local partners will be going around more schools in Palawan to step up the awareness campaign against teen pregnancy because, at an early age, it is risky for both mothers and babies.