By SHIELA MAE BUTLIG
AN average of one to two children are born from female adolescents every hour in Region 10 alone, the Commission on Population (Popcom) revealed.
According to Neil Aldrin Omega, Popcom assistant regional director, data show that child and teenage mothers, aged 10 to 19, give birth to an average of 33 babies every day in this part of the country.
“This is alarming,” Omega said.
Across the country, he said, teenage pregnancy can now be considered as a “national emergency.”
Popcom’s study also shows that 530 babies are born every day with an estimated 24 babies per hour, so every two to three minutes there is one baby who is borne from a teenage mother.
Omega said that because of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, young people could not avail of government-funded family planning.
“Young people cannot avail (of) family planning. This is one of the provisions that was stricken off by the Supreme Court on April 8, 2014’s declaration of Republic Act 10354 where Reproductive Health law (has been) constitutional,” Omega pointed out.
Omega said Philippine Statistics Authority data show this problem has been existing way far back as 2011 to 2015 when there were over 1,040,211 teenage pregnancies were listed in the entire country.
Teenage pregnancy, he added, redounds to loss of economic growth.
Omega said, “P24-42 billion every year ang mawala nga potential earnings sa mga bata nga naburos.”
This is because teenage moms tend to stop schooling and tend to become dependent on their parents or guardians, he said.
Omega blamed the rise of teenage pregnancy in the country to pornographic materials posted on various social media platforms.
In Region 10, the youngest mother who was listed is in Bukidnon and aged 10 years old. There has been an unverified report that there was a nine-year-old mother in Camiguin who got pregnant after she was abused, he said.
Omega said that the least Popcom could do to abate the rising teenage pregnancy is to advise parents to start educating their children about sex and its consequences at home.
“It (sex education) should really start at home. This is where we can apply responsible parenthood to explain to our children the effects of teenage pregnancy,” he said.