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Alarming early childbearing requires a comprehensive government strategy.
According to Senator Sonny Angara on Tuesday, the issue of girls between the ages of 10 and 14 becoming pregnant requires an immediate response from the entire government.
Angara observed that although the overall birth rate for adolescents has decreased, births to these young moms have grown year since 2016, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
According to PSA data, the rate of pregnancies among girls aged 10 to 14 increased from 11%, or 1,903 births, in 2016 to 2,113 registered births in 2020.
Teenage pregnancies have been a problem in the nation for a while now. The decrease in pregnancies among girls aged 15 to 19 is encouraging, but the fact that more girls are giving birth to children at younger ages is extremely concerning and must be addressed, according to Angara.
Angara has already submitted Senate Resolution No. 462, which requests an investigation into the worrisome rise in pregnancies among girls aged 10 to 14 in order to build a comprehensive government strategy for preventing early childbearing and its detrimental effects.
The implementation of programs to treat their core causes was declared a national priority by the previous president Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, which was accepted by Angara, who serves as chair of the Committee on Youth.
He emphasized the necessity of continuing these efforts.
“Much more work needs to be done to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, especially among children aged 10 to 14. The entire government must participate in this effort and recognize that lives are being saved and our children’s welfare is at stake, he said.
The bulk of recorded adolescent live births, according to the PSA study, involved men who were three to five years older than the girls.
Angara pointed out that the data on men who were older than the young moms by more than 10 years, which the PSA data estimated at 6 to 7 percent annually from 2016 to 2020, was even more alarming.
Senator Robinhood Padilla said Tuesday during the hearing of the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality that one way to address the issue is to define the social media limitations, which he claimed is one of the factors contributing to the high rate of teenage pregnancies.
He claimed that young people spend more time online than is necessary for school—an average of six hours each day.
Porno dyan ang mga bata nakakapanood. The desire to educate us is nakakalungkot [dahil]. What is the current state of social media? Sayang ang panahon, hangga’t di nakokontrol. Isa, may anim na oras naman ang social media; dalawang oras tayo sa lecture. It’s okay for kids to watch pornography on dating sites. We want to teach them, so it is unfortunate. What are the social media platforms’ limitations? This is a pointless endeavor unless we have control over them. They spend one or two hours in courses, but six hours on social media. In addition, they have dating websites,” Padilla stated.
Raffy Tulfo, a senator, suggested that family values be enhanced and that schools strictly regulate their pupils’ access to alcohol and extramarital sex.
social and health effects
Early pregnancy and childbirth, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), can hinder a girl’s healthy development into adulthood because many of them are persuaded or compelled to leave school in order to care for their children.
Additionally, it mentioned how the girls’ social standing had fallen in their homes and communities, and that they had experienced stigmatization, abuse, and rejection from family, friends, and partners, as well as early forced marriage.
UNICEF observed that this is one of the main causes of disability-adjusted life years and mortality among girls since the pregnancies and births are occurring before the girls’ bodies are fully matured.
Executive Order 141, which Duterte signed in June 2021 and aims to activate all government agencies and treat the incidence of adolescent pregnancy as a national priority, is being implemented by the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM).
POPCOM is required to gather all relevant national government entities to address the issue and develop a comprehensive action plan.
It comprises the promotion of comprehensive sex education for children and their parents, the improvement of socioeconomic situations, and community activities, and the strengthening of procedures for young people to receive reproductive health care.***
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