The Commission on Population (POPCOM) said it will focus on guiding young parents to become responsible for their families as well as educate teenagers of their crucial role in nation building.
“We recognize the crucial role of our approximately 20 million young Filipinos in nation building, that is why we are pushing and striving for an enabling environment for their welfare,” POPCOM chief, Dr. Juan Antonio Perez said during the celebration for the agency’s 53rd anniversary.
“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.
This came as the country saw a significant decline in cases of teenage pregnancy.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Civil Registry and Vital Statistics (2019 and 2020), the number of registered live births among adolescent mothers aged 10 to 17 significantly dropped nationwide from 2019’s 62,510 to 2020’s 56,428 — a variance of 6,082, or a 10 percent decrease.
All regions exhibited declines in numbers, with the National Capital Region (NCR) having the most pronounced decrease at 1,004 (from 7,536 in 2019, to 6,532 in 2020 for a 13 percent drop), followed by Calabazaron (842: from 8,008 to 7,166), and the Zamboanga Peninsula (646: 2,574 to 2,139).
Zamboanga Peninsula’s figures translated into the highest percentage change for the period at 17 percent. It was followed by Region 11 (Davao Region, at 14 percent: 4,551 to 3,905) and NCR.
“The downtrend of adolescent pregnancies was a confluence of many factors, including the pandemic, but also of POPCOM’s unrelenting collaboration with government agencies, local government units (LGUs) like-minded partners and stakeholders in upholding the welfare of Filipino youth, especially those who started to have families at a young age,” Perez said.
He also mentioned that there were only 51 births among 10 to 12-year-old girls in 2020: an average of 1 birth a week, “which could be classified as results of statutory rape”.
Almost 60 percent of the fathers (59.47 percent) of the teen mothers and adolescents were 20 years or older, while 23.8 percent were below 20 years old. In 2018, the percentage of fathers 20 years old and older was 63.5 percent, indicating a decline in 2020.
Repeat pregnancies among adolescent mothers stood at 4,375, which was almost 8 percent of teen births that year.
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. (PNA)