Children having children — very young adolescents ages 10 – 14 getting pregnant continue to rise, based on the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). As of 2010, teen pregnancies at ages 10 – 14 were 1,324, and in 2018, rose to 2,250. Teen pregnancies in the 15-19 age bracket was 206,574 in 2010, and 181,717 in 2018.
In a recent Senate hearing on various Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Bills, POPCOM chief and Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III pointed out to the lawmakers that there are about 130,000 teen pregnancies who were fathered by men who are 20 years old or older. He also noted that teen pregnancies in the 10-14 age bracket, those fathered by boys 15 years and below were only 64. He did not discount the possibility that the young mothers might have suffered from incidences of abuse, or were taken advantage of.
Perez also said that adolescent mothers who will join the workforce are at a great disadvantage in terms of potential earnings in their lifetime, making them economically vulnerable in life, compared with their peers who finished high school and have yet to bear children.
From the economic point of view, Perez quoted Dr. Alejandro Herrin’s 2016 research work on teen pregnancies, which said that childbearing, aside from associated health risks, has implications in opportunities lost for their total development and well-being.
To address the foregoing conditions,the POPCOM chief is actively pushing for the passage of the Teenage Pregnancy prevention Bill and has declared the teen pregnancy situation as a “national social emergency.”
“For one, we would like to give the teenage mothers a fighting chance in life and be productive citizens after giving birth. We are mobilizing local government units to advocate that those who are about to give birth given access to family planning methods.”
In line with this, POPCOM reiterated its Health and Development Strategies to prevent or reduce teen pregnancies:
- Provide comprehensive sexuality education
- Establishment of teen centers
- Link demand generation to service delivery
- Advocate the enactment of the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Bill.