A Boholano solon has raised concerns about the rise of teenage pregnancy in the country.
Rep. Rene Relampagos joined his colleagues in pushing a measure that seeks to establish a national policy in preventing teenage pregnancies and institutionalizing social protection for teenage parents.
Everyday, 5 girls aged 10 to 14 become pregnant or give birth in the Philippines. In 2014, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) revealed that every hour, 24 babies are delivered by teenage mothers.
“This bill hopes to address both ends – prevention and support”, the lawmaker said.
“The rising incidence of teenage pregnancies is alarming. This is no childish matter. We have to have a clear policy on this for the protection of the teenage mother, the child and the society as a whole.”
Relampagos said in the Philippines, the incidence of teenage pregnancies is increasing. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) data, among the six major economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the country has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies.=
Further, according to UNFPA Representative in the Philippines Klaus Beck, teenage pregnancy remains a challenge here in the Philippines despite the country’s already strong support for family planning.
He explained the implications of becoming a mother early in life. “It deprives a girl of the opportunity to enjoy the life of a teenager, free from any responsibilities other than taking care of her body and her future.
Because of the need to give care to her child, an adolescent mother may have to stop schooling and consequently find herself in a difficult position to land a good job,” Beck said.
“In celebration of the 25th year of the National Children’s Month this November, once again we were reminded of the continuous instilling of Filipino’s consciousness towards the welfare of our youth”, Bohol first district representative, Rep. Rene L. Relampagos, said.
By ensuring a girl’s right to education and access to youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services and advice, the country could improve the lives of hundreds and thousands of Filipinos.”
The Constitution, Article II, Section 13 provides that “The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being. It shall include in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.”