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Sta. Marcela, Apayao strategizes ‘coordinated response’ to solve teenage pregnancy, reading problems

Updated: May 22, 2023


Sta. Marcela, Apayao – After the pandemic and students were sent back to schools for face-to-face classes, Sta. Marcela LGU (SMLGU) observed an increase in cases of non-readers and struggling readers along with the more worrying teenage pregnancies.


Last year, Apayao, according to DOH-CAR data, logged the highest number of adolescent birth rates in the region.


As in other places in the country, many parents believe that the pandemic, due to the lockdowns, had a huge negative impact on learners’ reading ability as there was no direct supervision on pupils and students needing attention and guidance as well as limitations of good internet access and availability of gadgets.


On the other hand, the increase in teenage pregnancies, according to data, was seen when the return to face-to-face classes happened, possibly because students had more time outside the home, said one personnel of Apayao PHO during an interview.

During the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) Summit in the said town on May 12, 2023, PTA officers, DepEd Division Personnel, and all principals of schools in Sta. Marcela, the local school board, LGU officers, and concerned agencies discussed these growing concerns affecting learners.


SMLGU Sustainable Education Focal Person Roselily Ramos related that the LGU and DepEd-Apayao funded the summit to gather all concerned groups for a more coordinated response to address teenage pregnancy and reading problems involving students in the municipality.


“During the past provincial summit lumabas na Sta. Marcela has one of the highest incidence ng teenage pregnancy at mataas din yung number of struggling readers. Siyempre di kaya ng school lang o parents lang yung ganitong problema dahil madami factors na ikonsider,” explained Ramos.


Ramos added that some parents said they do not know what happens to their kids once they are out of the house, and so do teachers say they do not know what happens to students once they are out of school. An individual approach to solving the problems faced by students will not create much positive impact, said Ramos, saying the LGU is now working on involving other line agencies to augment manpower in making sure students are in school as well as in providing reinforcements to struggling readers.

“Minsan we have the PNP and BFP personnel na tumutulong narin at nagbibigay oras na magpabasa sa mga mag-aaral natin. Siyempre di kasi lahat ng magulang kaya na magturo o alam yung proseso,” said Ramos.


Meantime, Mayor Evelyn Martinez said she is in close contact with the DepEd and the PTA to monitor the situation as well as provide necessary assistance in her capacity as the Mayor.


“Siyempre worrying yung numbers although hindi naman critical… alam natin na pag madami ang non-readers at madami ang nabubuntis na estudiante, ang resulta madaming social and public health issues na susunod. Our young ones are the future, so we have to do something to help them succeed in their studies,” said Mayor Marinez.


Martinez likewise commended the work of the PTA officers and DepEd personnel for their active and immediate response to the situation.

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