Mayor, PopCom agree on need to focus on city’s population concerns

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin Magalong firmly supports the Commission on Population and Development-CAR in advocating Adolescent Health and Development (AHD), Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning (RPFP), and, Population and Development Integration.

In a meeting last week with POPCOM-CAR Regional Director Magdalena Abellera, City Population Officer Rowena Rabanes, and their respective staff, the mayor also expressed full support to POPCOM’s registry of barangay inhabitants and migration (RBIM), AHD information and service delivery network, and The Challenge Initiative (TCI) vs. adolescent pregnancies.

In the same meeting, Mayor Magalong lamented the fact that according to RD Abellera, the youngest mother recorded in the country was a 9-year old girl. As to data of 2019, Baguio city ranks second in teenage pregnancy rates in the region; with many young mothers having a repeat or second pregnancy just before they end their teenage years, Abellera said.

With RD Abellera, thus, the mayor shares the same views on responsible parenthood; encouraging links between individuals, the community, academe, health and economic sector, and all agencies intervening to sustain the city’s carrying capacity. The mayor believes that it is the responsibility of every couple and parent to decide on the number of children they want and can take care of.  There is a need for self-examination, if one has the resources to be a responsible parent, the capacity to provide for the family’s basic needs, or at least maintain and sustain a comfortable life, both Magalong and Abellera agreed.

Despite that the 1960-2020 Baguio statistical data show that population growth rates is going down in the last decades, the numbers show an increase in the actual number of people over the 60-year period.

The demographic pyramid from POPCOM also shows that women in the reproductive age of 15 to 49 years makes up 28% of the city’s population. Those in the age range of 0 to 19 years old is 41.75%, while senior citizens 60 and above comprise 6.55%  of Baguio’s population. The city sees the expected need to support these dependent populations of youth and seniors through programs targeted for them.

As such, the mayor and RD Abellera agreed to look at the main functions of PopCom in policy formulation and plans development, advocacy and communication, data and information managemen and generation, programming and mobilization of resources.

Accordingly, these programs are designed to “empower Filipinos, families and communities by enabling them to achieve fertility intention, prevent adolescent pregnancy and take in the population factor in sustainable development initiatives.”

The Mayor thus directed City Population Officer Rabanes to communicate with PopCom for programming and mobilization of resources as to urban initiatives, identification or experiences to prevent teen-age pregnancy and risky behavior.

Subsequent meetings are scheduled between agencies for further discussions on programs for population control.-  Julie G. Fianza with reports from the Population Commission Office