CITY OF SAN FERNANDO PAMPANGA – The latest civil-registry statistics for 2019 from the Philippine Statistics Authority revealed that births among adolescent girls remained high in Central Luzon contributing a total of 20,974 or 31.27% of the total adolescent birth rate in the country with 67,082. While majority of teenage pregnancy in the region is still highest among adolescents 15 to 19, there were also 311 live births or 1.48% percent coming from very young adolescents aged 10-14 for the same year.
“The latest data reflect a decline of teenage pregnancy cases in the region however, these numbers are still alarming especially with the incidence of younger girls giving births” according to POPCOM Acting Regional Director Atty. Maricar DG. Prieto
Among the 7 provinces, Bulacan ranked first in teenage pregnancy in 2019 with a total of 5,414, followed by Pampanga with 4,708, Nueva Ecija at 3, 928, Tarlac at 2,032, Bataan at 2,006, Zambales at 591 and Aurora at 485. Highly urbanized cities in the region recorded a total of 1,251 teenage pregnancy cases with Angeles City having 907 and Olongapo City with 344 respectively.
While POPCOM III continues its initiatives in Adolescent Health and Development together with the local government units despite the pandemic it also focuses on the study of various factors at play in the prevalence of teen pregnancy. Empirical evidence gathered suggests the interplay of information and communication technology, poverty, lack of access to reproductive health information and services, ineffective parental guidance, negative peer pressure, and early engagement in risky behaviors are among the crucial factors attributed to the prevalence of teenage pregnancy. The agency asserts the issue as both a health and development concern as it affects the health and total development of the individual with implications on the family, the community and socioeconomic development. Atty. Prieto further said that “Children born to very young mothers are at a higher risk of diseases and death while teenage mothers who have given birth are more likely to experience adverse pregnancy outcomes and are restrained from pursuing educational and employment opportunities”.
With constant advocacy, POPCOM and NEDA RO III were able to secure alliance from The Central Luzon Regional Development Council (CLRDC) with the creation of RDC Resolution No. 03-15-2019 supporting the Declaration of Adolescent Pregnancy as National Social Emergency Requiring Inter Agency Action. In the same light, the Regional Development Council Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC) passed Resolution No. 03-06-2019 Creating a Technical Working Group (TWG) to Craft the Regional Action Plan Addressing High Cases of Teenage Pregnancy in Central Luzon. In effect, these policies will immensely help create multi sectoral strategies to curb the prevalence of teenage pregnancies and to foster more collaborations among stakeholders in the Region. – PRESS RELEASE, COMMISSION ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT REGION III