Aug 28, 2019

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said that the heightened adolescent birth rate over the past decade is why they think it should be merited as a level of “national concern.”

“I commit to advocate for the President to issue an executive order acknowledging teen pregnancy as a national social emergency,” Pernia said.

According to the National Demographic and Health Survey in 2017, a total of 4,897 women—adolescents aged 15 to 19 years old—have already experienced child bearing. This is higher than those aged 20 to 24, which totals 4,175 women.

The same survey also stated that the percentage of women who’ve given birth is higher in rural areas by five percent. This calls for action among the local government units in rural areas to conduct more seminars on family planning. 

A total of 24 babies are being born to adolescent mothers every hour where 194,096 women are between ages 10 to 19. Because of this alarming rate, Pernia calls for the enactment of a bill that focuses on teenage pregnancy prevention in Congress. 

The Senate Bill No. 1888 or the Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy Act filed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros in December of 2018 prevent educational institutions from expelling pregnant students, and also to form a Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Council. 

Pernia also said that a total of P24 billion to P42 billion is lost in a lifetime of earnings of each woman because of early childbearing, which if not given a solution could lead to “intergenerational poverty.”

Because of the adolescent’s body still growing, one of its dangers is being too frail for pregnancy. It creates a greater risk in terms of maternal complications that affect the mother and the child they bear resulting in low survival rates. 

According to Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the efforts to combat teenage pregnancy should also come from other sectors of society. 

“It should not depend on the efforts of the DOH alone [or] all government agencies, but it requires the participation of the private sectors, civil society organizations, communities, and the entire citizenry,” Duque said.

Pernia urges congress to have the same widespread lobbying effect in fighting for the effectivity of the pregnancy prevention bill, in the same way, that advocates fought for the Reproductive Health law in 2011. 


Header photo courtesy of on Unsplash

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TAGS: Department of Health NEDA pregnancy teenage