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Innocent girls, young mothers

by Jericho Zafra

AMID the decline in the number of teenage pregnancies in the country, authorities face a challenging issue as younger girls have been getting pregnant through the years, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.

According to recent data from the PSA, the total number of teenage pregnancies declined from 8.6 percent to 5.4 percent in 2022. 

But younger girls are getting pregnant as the statistics department recorded an increase in the number of adolescents aged 10 to 14 who are getting pregnant.

Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) Executive Director Lolito Tacardon said in a public briefing that the 2023 data from the PSA did not include pregnancies under 10-14 years old, but a 2022 PSA report noted that a total of 2,113 mothers aged 10-14 had given birth, an 11 percent increase compared to 2016.

The PSA said there were 1,903 adolescent mothers aged 10-14 registered with the PSA in 2016.

To illustrate, about five to seven births daily are reportedly delivered by adolescent mothers aged 10 to 14, which alarms the population commission.

Older fathers

The PSA noted that from 2016 to 2020, men who were three to five years older than the mother fathered the bulk of officially recorded adolescent live births. These births made up more than one-fourth of all the babies born to adolescent mothers each year. 

In addition, from 2016 to 2020, around six to seven percent of births were attributed to fathers who are at least ten years older than the adolescent mothers who are giving birth to their children. On the other hand, the age of the father is unknown in nearly one out of every five cases of births to adolescent women, it said.

Detrimental effects of adolescent pregnancy

When a woman is still an adolescent when she gives birth, there is a higher chance that she and her baby will experience major health problems. Anemia, sexually transmitted infections, and postpartum hemorrhage are some health concerns that may arise.


According to Tacardon, the agency is currently implementing Executive Order No. 141, which declares adolescent pregnancy a “national priority.” 

Under the EO, the national government and other concerned agencies are mandated to “exert all efforts” to reach all areas to educate the public regarding the prevention of adolescent pregnancies.  

For its part, the Commission on Population was mandated to come up with a five-point comprehensive action plan. Under the action plan, PopCom is required to conduct comprehensive sex education among adolescents and provide access to reproductive health services and preventive mechanisms to address sexual abuse and violence, which is considered one determinant of teenage pregnancy.

The action plan also includes the improvement of adolescents’ socio-economic condition by ensuring they are getting a quality education and, lastly, their participation in community development activities. 

Decline in teenage pregnancy

Tacardon said that even though the alarming rate of pregnant women aged 10-14 years old is rising, the drop in fertility rate among women also led to the decreasing number of teenage pregnancies in the country.

The total fertility rate (TFR) of Filipino women aged 15–49 was reported to be 1.9 in 2022, down from 2.7 in 2017 during the National Health Demographic Survey (NDHS) 2022 Dissemination Forum held last November.

“So, ibig sabihin, bawat babae na within her childbearing years, mga around dalawa na lang po, dalawang bata o dalawang anak na lang po ang isinisilang po nila,” said Tacardon.

According to the NDHS, the country has already reached the replacement fertility level of 2.1 children, which refers to the fertility rate at which women give birth to an adequate number of newborns to maintain current population levels. 

The survey also found that the overall fertility rate in the Philippines has been on a declining trend since the 1970s, when it stood at six children per woman. Nevertheless, the fall from 2017 to 2022 was the most severe that has ever been recorded, it said.

Banner Photo Credit: Unsplash



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