BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya– Local lawmakers here have expressed support to the proposed Safe Boarding Houses Ordinance that will tighten multi-sectoral watch on the prevention of teen pregnancies in the province.
Board member Elma Pinao-an-Lejao, chair of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s committee on family and social welfare and proponent of the of the proposed ordinance, said they have already conducted a series of public hearings in various municipalities involving boarding house owners and operators in Solano, Bayombong, Aritao and Bambang towns, parent organizations and school officials.
“Based on our public hearings, the affected sectors have expressed their appreciation and support for the ordinance. We are one in our advocacy to prevent the rise of teen pregnancies in our province,” Lejao said.
Some of the features of the ordinance, Lejao said will be the installation of CCTVs inside and outside boarding houses, enforcement of curfew hours for visitation especially at night time, compliance of boarding houses to the Fire Code of the Philippines, separation of male and female from one boarding house to others, registration and proper identification of visitors and the prohibition of intoxicated drinks and illegal drugs inside the establishments, among others.
Lejao also said the boarding houses will be also required to secure business permits from the local government units as they will be helping the implementation of the ordinance in terms of the boarding house compliance to its regulations and provisions.
“Boarding houses who will be violating the ordinance will be penalized based on the ordinance. Their business permit will also be revoked one the operators and owners continue to defy compliance to the ordinance,” she added.
Vice Governor Lambert Galima,Jr., in a recent meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting also assured Fr. Renillo Sta. Ana, president of the St. Mary’s University on the approval of the proposed ordinance.
Lita Tabudlo, provincial population and development officer said the said ordinance serves as the localized version of the then Boarding House Ordinance authored by former Board Member Merianthe Zuraek.
It was made to prevent adolescent pregnancies especially in major educational centers in the province such as in the towns of Bambang, Bayombong and Solano.
“But there is a need to localize it in the municipal level because boarding house owners and operators then do not follow the separation of male and female boarders in one boarding house.
The present ordinance will further strengthen our resolve to advocate our efforts to prevent teen pregnancies,” Tabudlo said. Report of the Population Commission (POPCOM) in Cagayan Valley showed that Nueva Vizcaya ranks second in terms of teen pregnancy occurrence in the region.
Tabudlo said the magnitude of teen pregnancy cases in the province was also contributed by the influx of college students coming from other provinces in Cagayan Valley, Ifugao, Benguet and Nueva Ecija.
Nueva Vizaya serves as one of the major educational centers in Cagayan Valley through the St. Mary’s University in Bayombong town, Nueva Vizcaya State University in Bambang and Bayombong towns, Aldersgate College in Solano town, PLT College Inc. in Bayombong town and technical – vocational institutions.
“It is not enough that we are advocating adolescent reproductive health through lectures, we should involve the active support of boarding house owners as frontline guardians of our youth against teen pregnancy,” said Tabudlo.
She cited that the St. Mary’s University alone, through their guidance counseling office is carrying out advocacy efforts on the prevention of teen pregnancy cases within boarding houses near the university.
Tabudlo said SMU’s focal person regularly visits boarder-students of the university and boarding house owners and consults them on their possible problems and recommend solutions to address them.
“In this way, our students can be properly guided and given the right information on what to do before confronted with social and financial problems, among others,” she said. Ben Ebreo and Mark Tumabao/PIA