Popcom in E. Visayas partners with LGUs to push various programs
TACLOBAN CITY — The Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) in Eastern Visayas is strengthening its partnership with local governments to cascade its various programs and activities further.
Elnora Pulma, Popcom regional director, said they are pushing for a close partnership with the local governments as teenage or adolescent pregnancy cases in the region remained alarming.
“They (local governments) equate Popcom to family planning or fertility programs, which is not the case. Popcom provides all the data to the local governments, especially on the adolescent birth rate, which is a silent factor for population growth,” she said.
“This means that if they give birth as young as 10, they will be a burden to the local governments,” she added.
Based on the data of Popcom in Eastern Visayas, 3,494 girls aged 15 to 19 gave birth last year.
Pulma insisted that their office is not all about family or fertility planning but has several programs to make adolescents productive and attain a better future rather than becoming young parents.
She described adolescent pregnancies as a “dependent population” dependent on local governments’ attention and care.
“So this means, no matter how big is their allocation, if your population is a dependent population, then you have to provide with all their social needs and services,” Pulma said.
Reyan Arinto, Popcom regional information officer, said that of the six regional provinces, only Leyte, Northern Samar, and Samar have permanent population offices, while out of its seven cities, only Baybay in Leyte and Catbalogan have no office of their own.
And of the 136 municipalities in the region, only 12 have their own population office.
He said they are visiting local governments in the region to convince them to have their own population offices.
“We’ve been speaking with local chief executives and we are getting positive responses (from them) as they are bent on appointing population officers,” Arinto said.
Popcom, he said, will provide local governments with technical and even financial support in implementing the population management programs, including the youth development program.