MANILA - The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) on Sunday called for social support for minors who have pregnancies after the state statistics bureau said births among girls ages 15 years old and below went up by 7 percent in 2019 compared to the preceding year.
"In 2019, 2,411 girls considered as very young adolescents aged 10 to 14 gave birth, or almost seven every day. This was a three-fold increase from 2000, when only 755 from the said age group gave birth," the commission said.
POPCOM said in a statement this is the 9th year the rate has increased since 2011, noting that one out of every 10 pregnancies in the Philippines has been among teenagers, as the trend of younger girls giving birth continues to rise.
"Overall, the number of Filipino minors who gave birth in 2019 increased to 62,510, which was slightly higher than the 62,341 minors in 2018."
POPCOM noted that one in 3 births among minors occurred mostly in the regions of Calabarzon, Metro Manila and Central Luzon. Outside Luzon, Cebu or Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, and Cotabato also registered high cases of births among minors.
Undersecretary of Population and Development Juan Antonio Perez III said "the spread of teenage pregnancy across the archipelago still persists at an alarming rate."
Congress, according to POPCOM, earlier asked the commission to coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to provide social protection for adolescent mothers and their children.
"POPCOM and DSWD, together with other agencies, are looking forward to roll out this social protection program this year," it said.
According to the commission, local government units (LGUs) have already joined efforts to reduce adolescent births, lending their hand to The Challenge Initiative—a tripartite partnership launched in November 2020 among POPCOM, the Zuellig Foundation and the Melinda and Bill Gates Institute. The drive will undertake teenage pregnancies in all kinds of communities in the Philippines.