Popcom has high hopes budget to aid teen moms gets approved

THE Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) said the House of Representatives (HOR) is already reconsidering its proposed budget for teenage mothers.

Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio A. Perez III told the BusinessMirror that the proposed P73-million budget to assist teen mothers is now with the House Appropriations committee.

Initially, BusinessMirror reported that the funds were pooled by the three agencies to deal with teenage pregnancies from a multisectoral perspective. However, no hearing was called to scrutinize the proposal leading the HOR to scrap the funds.

“Congressman (Jose Sarte) Salceda said the committee will consider the request,” Perez said. “I (also) got a call from a senator’s office that they will do something.”

BusinessMirror reported last week that should funding request be rejected, Popcom, the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Youth Commission (NYC) would have to stretch their budgets in order to reach 166,000 teenage mothers and their children.

These agencies will also reach out to local government units (LGUs) to help them include social protection for teen mothers as part of the budgets of the Sangguniang Kabataan and various LGUs. (See Story here: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2021/09/22/%e2%82%a773-m-pooled-fund-to-address-teen-pregnancy-scrapped-by-lawmakers/)

In June, the DSWD and Popcom formalized their partnership for the social protection program for teenage mothers and their children (SPPTMC) through a virtual memorandum of agreement (MOA)-signing.

The Popcom said SPPTMC aims to cushion the impact of their pregnancy on their incomes which are often limited because their education was put on hold because of their children.

The social protection mechanism will be directed toward easing the financial burdens of unintended pregnancies of mothers who are 10 to 19 years old, as well as those of their families.

The MOA covers the development of an information system to identify teen moms and their children nationwide, the health services they can access and avail, nutrition support, and mental-health.

It also covers the ability to return to school and a social amelioration program to support those belonging to the lowest socioeconomic bracket until they are able to find gainful work or livelihood, among others.

According to data from Popcom, the Philippines ranked fourth in terms of early childbirth rates among Southeast Asian countries.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) showed that there were about 171 live births born to minors every day in 2019.

PSA also noted a general increase in the number of births from very young adolescents aged 10 to 14 in that same year, with about seven live births born to children every day, compared to three daily in 2011.

The PSA-CRVS also revealed that in 2015, there were 5,297 repeat pregnancies, or second-time births, among 10- to 17-year-old girls, with only a slight decrease in 2018 at 4,633.

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