PopCom strengthens advocacy vs. teen pregnancy

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DAVAO CITY — The Population Commission office in region 12 advocates against teenage pregnancy  as the agency focuses on education about reproductive health.

It is in line with the advocacy on the prevention of teenage pregnancy in the region, the City Population Offices of General Santos and Koronadal, South Cotabato and Cotabato Province and the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines- SOCCSKSARGEN Chapter distributed POPCOM XII’s SPEAK-UP fans and leaflets to the young people in various areas such as plaza, malls and even in church, in their respective cities and provinces, starting February 12 until Valentines Day on February 14.

The SPEAK UP fans and teen pregnancy leaflet of POPCOM XII contain key messages on adolescent sexual and reproductive health, particularly on the prevention of teen pregnancy and STIs including HIV and AIDS. The distribution of these materials was led by the Adolescent Health and Development (AHD) team of each of the city/population offices together with their peer educators and youth volunteers.

Declared as a “national social emergency concern”, the high rate of teenage pregnancy not just in the region, but in the entire country, calls for a sustained and proactive response among the key stakeholders. Overall, the number of Filipino minors (10-17) who gave birth in 2019 increased to 62,510, which was slightly higher than the 62,341 minors in 2018, according to the PSA data.

In SOCCSKSARGEN region, the data revealed that there is slight decrease of pregnancies for minors (10-17) from 3,496 in 2018 to 3,394 in 2019. However, pregnancies from the entire adolescent population showed that there is a slight increase of 627 or 6% from 10,499 in 2018 to 11,126 in 2019 of live births by mothers aged 10-19, based on the CVRS data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). 

Responding to this, POPCOM XII Regional Director Engr. Edwin Mateo P. Quijano emphasized the need for a prompt multi-stakeholder’s response to address this issue, as this requires more than a whole-of-government approach. He reiterated his call to local government units, private sectors, academe, development partners and other relevant government agencies to collaborate closely to address this issue concerning the youth. POPCOM XII believes that access to Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and access to sexual and reproductive health services should be intensified to address the issue on teen pregnancy.  

At the national level, POPCOM Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, MD, MPH said that the national government agencies working on poverty reduction under the leadership of Social Welfare Secretary Rolando D. Bautista have already prioritized teenage pregnancy reduction as an important landmark in the roadmap to reduce poverty. POPCOM, together with DSWD, and other agencies is looking forward for the roll-out of social protection program for teen moms this year.

During the online press conference last February 17, 2021 held by POPCOM and the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), regarding the latest data on adolescent pregnancy and top concerns of women in the Philippines during the Covid-19 pandemic, POPCOM and PLCPD has called for a full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law. Since 2011, the figure on teenage pregnancy has continued to rise.

It is now time to make Family Planning services more accessible to teenage girls. No more children having children. 

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