The Cagayan Valley Region recorded a total of 16,587 early marriages in 2019 among 18-24 years old in 2019 according to the Philippine Statistics Authority-Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Report (PSA-CRVSR).

Although there is a slight decrease compared from the number of young men and women who married early in 2018, with 16,931 or equivalent to a more or less 2% reduction, still the number remains significantly high.

From the said report, 42% are teens and young adults. With this, more than half are young women (59.8% or 9,916) who got married to older men.

On the other hand, based on the reports submitted by the different local government units (LGUs) in the region, the number of would-be-couples who underwent Pre-Marriage Orientation among the 18-19 years old accounts to 374 in the first quarter of 2021. This is five to eight times lower than the previous years with 2,689 in 2019 and 1,550 in 2020 during the same quarter. The significant decrease may be attributed to the effects of the pandemic. Most couples decided to delay their plan to get married.

The Pre-Marriage Orientation is a mandatory seminar that would-be-couples should attend before they can be officially solemnized as husband and wife.

It is alarming to note that these young men and women who married early are still in their tertiary education and any instance of pregnancy associated with this is considered teenage pregnancy. In 2019, at least 12 percent of the total live births in Region 2 are from adolescent mothers aged 12-19. The data also reveal that the number of adolescent births increases significantly as they grow older. These births are highest among girls ages 17-19.

With these data, POPCOM-Region II Director Herita O. Macarubbo continually seeks the support of all population stakeholders across the region to intensify advocacy efforts in delaying early marriages. “Early marriage hinders opportunities for the adolescent and young adults. We should educate them to be mindful of their decisions in life as it will create a great impact on their future. As I always say, true and genuine love knows how to wait. This should be inculcated in the minds of the young, to learn how to wait,” said RD Macarubbo.

“Parents should also help the government inculcate in the minds of their children the consequences of early sexual initiation and teen pregnancy, more so early marriage. As the saying goes, ‘Ang pag-aasawa ay hindi parang mainit na kaning isusubo, na maaari lang iluwa ‘pag napaso.’ Teens and young adults still need proper guidance on responsible sexuality and reproductive health,” RD Macarubbo added.

POPCOM-Region II, thru its local population partners and other key stakeholders are conducting the PMO to ensure that would-be-couples are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge for them to realize their fertility intentions and create healthy and empowered families.