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Pregnancy among minors in the Philippines at an alarming rate —POPCOM

Incidence of pregnancy among minors in the Philippines remained at an alarming rate, according to the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM).

In a statement on Sunday, Population and Development Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez II said the issue needs a "more than a whole-of-government" approach.

“As a national and social emergency, the spread of teenage pregnancy across the archipelago still persists at an alarming rate. This requires more than a whole-of-government approach,” he said.

The group then called on the private sector, local government units, development partners and relevant government agencies to collaborate closely with it in addressing the problem.

According to POPCOM, the number of births among girls has risen in nine years straight since 2011.

Philippine Statistics Authority’s civil-registry statistics in 2019 showed that births among girls ages 15 years old and below have increased by 7%, compared to 2018 record, from 62,341 to 62,510.

In 2019, some 2,411 girls aged 10 to 14 gave birth  or almost seven births from the age group every day.

The increasing trend of younger girls giving birth has been observed in the last 11 years, POPCOM said.

According to POPCOM, one in three births among minors was recorded in neighboring regions of CALABARZON (8,008), National Capital Region (7,546) and Central Luzon (7,523).

Outside Luzon, POPCOM said the highest number of minors who gave birth were in Cebu/Central Visayas (4,541), Northern Mindanao (4,747), as well as the regions of Davao (4,551) and Cotabato (3,394).

Due to this, the POPCOM and Department of Social Welfare and Development are targeting to launch a social protection program to prevent incidence of teenage pregnancy and help adolescent mothers and children to reduce poverty.

According to POPCOM, some local government units (LGUs) have already enlisted their participation to a tripartite partnership with the agency, the Zuellig Foundation, and the Melinda and Bill Gates Institute to tackle this issue.

The Challenge Initiative agreement also aims to address the causes of the crisis affecting adolescents, while making efforts to ease these issues within five years, POPCOM said.  —Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA News

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