Due to the rising cases of teenage pregnancy, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) has asked Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez to create a multi-sectoral task force with adequate support to address the issue particularly those who have already given birth.
In a resolution authored by board member Maria Angela Sabando approved by the SP on Tuesday, she said based on the data of the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) there were 40 to 50 Filipino children between 10 to 14 years old who gave birth every week in 2020.
“Early pregnancy forces girls to take an adult role while their bodies are not yet ready and trap them in an escapable cycle of poverty, stigmatized by society for being teenage mother or forced into early marriage,” Sabando said.
She also said that factors for early pregnancy include lack of access to comprehensive information or education, cultural practices of early union, lack of adolescent sexuality policies among others.
“Studies show that there is no single cause for the rising rate of teenage pregnancy but rather a combination of factors ranging from biological, social and cultural,” she added.
On the average, around 64,000 or those 18 years old and below give birth every year.
Sabando said the multi-sectoral task force that will handle the massive social problem of teenage pregnancy must include church, Sangguniang Kabataan, media, academe, civil society, and family advocates.
In August 2019, the National Economic and Development Agency (NEDA) declared the number of teenage pregnancies in the Philippines as a national social emergency and a drag on the Philippines’ economic growth as it has identified existing evidence on social economic impact.
The Save the Children’s Global Childhood also reported that teenage pregnancy affects 5.99 percent of Filipino girls which is the second highest rate in the Southeast Asia.
The Philippine Statistics Authority also said that an estimated 538 teenage mothers give birth every day.