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Commission on Population and Development Urges Government Intervention to Address Surging Teenage Pregnancies

filipino teenage pregnancies

Amidst a surge in teenage pregnancies, the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) is intensifying its call for immediate government action and heightened national awareness. 

The agency is concerned by alarming statistics indicating a significant surge in teenage pregancies and live births among this vulnerable demographic from 2021 to 2022.

Emergence of a Disturbing Trend

CPD Executive Director Lisa Grace S. Bersales cited data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). She highlighted a 35 percent increase in pregnancies among girls under 15 in 2022 compared to the preceding year. The numbers paint a stark picture, with the tally of pregnancies in this age bracket soaring from 2,320 in 2021 to 3,135 in 2022.

Urgent Imperative for Action

Despite constituting a mere 0.22% of total live births, pregnancies among adolescent girls aged 14 and below ring alarm bells for CPD. Bersales emphasised the gravity of the situation, underscoring the urgent imperative to address the escalating incidence of adolescent pregnancies, particularly among the most vulnerable young girls.

Call for Legislative Intervention

Additionally, Bersales underscored the pivotal role of legislative intervention in confronting this pressing issue. She also urged Congress to prioritise passing the “Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Bill”. This bill is a cornerstone in establishing a national policy framework aimed at helping reduce the number of adolescent pregnancies and childbirths. This bill, named House Bill 8910, was approved on its second reading in September of the preceding year. It is a crucial step in addressing the ongoing issue of early childbearing and motherhood among Filipino girls.

Economic and Social Toll

Experts caution against underestimating the social and economic toll exacted by teenage pregnancies. They say it pressures the government’s budget because they need to support young mothers and their children. Subsequently, Bersales echoed the concerns voiced by Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, stressing the importance of proactive measures to alleviate these adverse repercussions.

Alignment with National Policies

The enactment of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Bill assumes heightened significance in light of its alignment with the Philippine Population and Development Plan of Action 2023. This comprehensive blueprint addresses Filipino teens’ health and development imperatives, marshalling specific measures to combat early parenthood.

A pivotal component of this action plan involves strengthening Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in schools and communities. This includes improving adolescents’ access to sexual and reproductive health services. Bersales emphasised the importance of promoting youth development and encouraging participation initiatives at the grassroots level. This is crucial for effectively addressing the issue of teenage pregnancies.

Supporting Strategic Interventions

Bersales emphasised the importance of bolstering strategic interventions. She cited the effectiveness of measures championed by the Department of Education in reducing dropout rates caused by teenage pregnancies. Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte endorsed the success of “Alternative Delivery Modes” in lowering dropout rates. Hence, this underscores the importance of innovative approaches in addressing this multifaceted issue.

A Holistic Approach

In advocating for a holistic approach, CPD highlights the indispensable role of parents and guardians in addressing teenage pregnancies within the familial milieu. Bersales stressed the crucial role of parental guidance in shaping the character and behaviour of their children. She also underlined the need for a coordinated, multifaceted approach to tackle this widespread societal challenge.

Mobilising for a Collective Response

In conclusion, the increasing occurrence of teenage pregnancies requires an immediate and unified response from governmental bodies, policymakers, educators, healthcare professionals, and community stakeholders. This collective effort is essential to effectively address this pressing issue. Therefore, by prioritising legislative enactments, stakeholders can confront the root causes of teenage pregnancies. They can also nurture the well-being and prospects of Filipino adolescents for generations to come by deploying comprehensive strategies and fostering community engagement.

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