Popcom bares fresh initiatives to control teenage pregnancy

Sexually abusive relationships between teenage women and older partners as well as unprotected sex among the youth make teen pregnancy persist in the country, according to the Commission on Population and Development (Popcom).

In a televised briefing, Popcom Deputy Executive Director Lolito R. Tacardon said teenage pregnancies among 15 to 19 year olds have declined in the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) and the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFS) to 5.4 percent from 8.5 percent and 6.7 percent from 13 percent, respectively.

However, Tacardon noted that while this data is good news, it did not cover pregnancy among younger teenagers. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that over 2,000 10 to 14 year olds became pregnant.

“In general, teenage pregnancy is most commonly due to early unprotected sexual activities among the young people. Moreover, young people who are engaged in risky sexual activities usually have no sufficient protection from pregnancy,” Popcom said in an e-mail to the BusinessMirror. “Sexual abuse is also a troubling factor that Popcom is looking at.”

The Popcom also said teenage pregnancies persist because the knowledge of young people about sex is found to be “generally very poor.”

The agency said very few young people correctly identified the time during the menstrual cycle when a woman is most likely to conceive if she has sexual relations.

Popcom added that the socioeconomic conditions of adolescents were also linked to their sexual behaviors, according to recent studies. Early pregnancies were more prevalent among poor adolescents as well as those who were less educated and living in rural areas.

“[Other reasons include] changing attitudes, norms and values on adolescent sexuality among the young including issues such as virginity, etc.,” Popcom told the BusinessMirror.

In order to address these, Popcom said the government issued in 2021, Executive Order No. 141, which declares as a national priority the implementation measures preventing adolescent pregnancies.

This meant that government agencies, youth leaders and other stakeholders were tasked to identify and implement interventions related to reduce, if not eliminate, adolescent pregnancies, and improve adolescent reproductive health.

Popcom also implements the Adolescent Health and Development (AHD) program under the Philippine Population and Development Program (PPDP).

This includes the implementation of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in schools and in alternative learning systems (communities) using interactive and peer-to-peer communication strategies as well as setting-up information and delivery network (ISDN) among institutions.

The Popcom also established functional and sustainable teen centers in every city and municipality; enable parents, youth leaders, and other adult groups to effectively guide adolescents in forming responsible sexuality; and optimize new information and communication technologies to reach out to adolescents in online and digital media (e.g. social media).

The government also enables local government units, civil society organizations and private sector to improve access of adolescents to appropriate reproductive health information and services as well as develop and implement local policies and programs to prevent exposure of adolescents to risky behaviors (e.g. drinking, smoking, and drug use).

Popcom also implemented Social Protection Program for Adolescent Mothers and their Children (SPPAMC) that aims to protect and prevent unwanted pregnancies, sexual abuse and other social risks and vulnerabilities that deter adolescent mothers and their children from improving their conditions.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Article

House panel OKs bill on PHL maritime zones

Next Article

Lawmakers weigh in on proposal to amend Constitution via ConCon

Related Posts