The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) attributed the downtrend of adolescent pregnancies to confluence of many factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the unrelenting collaboration government agencies, local government units (LGUs) and stakeholders.
Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, executive director of POPCOM, cited the Challenge Initiative with the Zuellig Family Foundation as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as being vital in limiting early pregnancy case numbers in many cities and LGUs of the country.
He also attributed the sliding statistics in teenage pregnancies to open communications and correct data dissemination.
Perez said key interventions for the youth include social media-based Konektado Tayo with the United States Agency for International Development, as well as the recently launched I Choose information drive program with the Department of Health.
“Despite effects of the pandemic’s quarantines and lockdowns, we and our partners continued to devote energies in protecting the welfare of our youth,” he said in a news release on Sunday.
“They are concerted efforts to ensure our young people are being looked after and well taken care of as a vulnerable unit of society—one which was severely impacted by the health crisis,” he added.
During its 53rd foundation day celebration last February 18, POPCOM highlighted the most recent data of the Philippine Statistics Authority which shows the number of registered live births nationwide among adolescent mothers aged 10 to 17 years old significantly dropped from 62,510 in 2019 to 56,428 in 2020.
Perez also noted there were only 51 births among 10 to 12 years old girls in 2020: an average of one birth a week, which could be classified as results of statutory rape.
Repeat pregnancies among adolescent mothers stood at 4,375, which was almost 8 percent of teen births in 2019. This figure is lower than the 4,633 repeat pregnancies in 2018. In all, repeat pregnancies among teen and adolescent mothers were at 16.6 percent in 2020.
POPCCOM vowed to focus further on safeguarding the welfare of young parents’ families.
Girls who just became mothers at an early age have also been accorded with ample assistance, including their kids, through POPCOM’s linkage with the Department of Social Welfare and Development through the Special Protection Program for Adolescent Mothers and Their Children, or SPPAMC.
The momentum of these efforts led to the eventual signing by President Rodrigo Duterte of Executive Order 141 in June 2021, directing government agencies to prioritize measures which will address adolescent pregnancies nationwide, which is still considered a “national social emergency.”
Perez said POPCOM is giving great attention in protecting the welfare of society’s young people as declared in its 2022 anniversary theme: “Patuloy na Nagsusulong at Naglilingkod para sa Planado, Protektado at Progresibong Pamilyang Pilipino.”
“We recognize the crucial role of our approximately 20 million young Filipinos in nation building, that’s why we are pushing and striving for an enabling environment for their welfare,” he said.
“As future innovators and leaders, we continue to invest and ensure that Filipino youth are protected and their potentials developed as they eventually lead their own families and communities,” he added. (PR)