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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Popcom to launch activities to protect teenage mothers

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THE Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are crafting a new social protection program to support teenage mothers and their children.

Popcom Executive Director and Undersecretary of Population and Development Juan Antonio Perez III told the BusinessMirror that the program will be rolled out toward the end of the year.

Initially under the program, teenage mothers and their children will receive education, welfare, health, and family development assistance. The program will be focused on families of minor girls.

“[The] Popcom is setting aside at least P5 million to develop the program over the next few months, but DSWD will set aside the bulk of the fund for its implementation once the program is finalized,” Perez told the BusinessMirror in an interview last Sunday.

“Other agencies will be asked to contribute to its implementation, such as alternative learning systems of DepEd [Department of Education] or DOH [Department of Health] programs for young parents,” he added.

Perez said the new social protection program will be included in the programs offered by the DSWD. It will also be similar to the ones offered to older persons and victims of disasters.

The decision to create the program stemmed from the increasing trend in teenage pregnancies nationwide. The latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) indicated the trend continues.

PSA data showed that births among girls ages 15 years old and below increased 7 percent compared to 2018. Popcom said in a statement that this is the ninth consecutive trend of increase since 2011.

The Popcom also noted this increasing trend of younger girls giving birth has been observed in the last 11 years, as one out of every 10 pregnancies in the country has consistently been among teenagers during the same period.

In 2019, the PSA said that 2,411 girls (considered as very young adolescents aged 10 to 14) gave birth; almost seven every day. This was a three-fold increase from 2000, when only 755 from the said age group gave birth.

Overall, the number of Filipino minors who gave birth in 2019 increased to 62,510. This number was slightly higher than the 62,341 minors recorded in 2018.

One in three births among minors occurred in the three contiguous regions of Calabarzon (8,008), the National Capital Region (7,546) and Central Luzon (7,523).

Outside Luzon, the highest number of minors who gave birth were in Cebu/Central Visayas (4,541), Northern Mindanao (4,747), as well as the regions of Davao (4,551) and Cotabato (3,394).

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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