Photo courtesy of Philippine News Agency

On June 25, 2021, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 141 which adopts the implementation of measures to address the root causes of the rising number of teenage pregnancies as a national priority.

In the said EO, the government acknowledges that engendered patterns of discrimination, deep-seated norms and attitudes that normalize and justify violence against women and children, lack of information and education, and the vulnerability and exclusion of women and children living in remote and rural areas are the main causes of the rising number in adolescent pregnancies nationwide.

Hence, all key stakeholders and partners are instructed to carefully coordinate, rationalize, monitor and assess current efforts to ensure a whole-of-government approach in implementing measures to curb the issue.

With this, POPCOM will continue to educate leaders, parents and other community members about evidence-based strategies to reduce, if not eliminate, adolescent pregnancy and improve adolescent reproductive health.

In Region 2, cases of teenage pregnancy already plateaued from 2013-2017. Based on the results of the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFSS) 4, Region 2 ranked number 2 nationwide with the most number of adolescent women ages 13-19 who got pregnant with 18.1%.

Meanwhile, results of the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) revealed that the percentage of women 15-19 who have begun childbearing dropped to only 7.8, making Region 2 rank 10th in the said survey. Furthermore, only about 2% of adolescent girls in the region gave birth in 2019 as per data from the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Report of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“Although the cases of teenage pregnancy in Region 2 is decreasing, we should not be complacent because there should be no adolescent girl who will get pregnant early. They should be fulfilling their dreams, enjoying their adolescent years and building their future,” POPCOM-Region II Director Herita O. Macarubbo said.

POPCOM-Region II maintained and sustained various programs and interventions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to dramatically decrease the number of adolescent girls getting pregnant like the advocacy to local government officials on the establishment of teen centers and adolescent friendly health facilities, operationalization of the information and service delivery network for Adolescent Health and Development, collaboration with non-government organizations and the private sector on AHD activities and conduct of social behavioral change communication strategies thru online and digital platforms regionwide through the support and commitment of local partners and other program stakeholders. On the other hand, RD Macarubbo considers the declaration of teenage pregnancy as a national priority by President Duterte as a timely and politically empowering intervention. “With EO 141, we hope that in the coming years, there will be no more children bearing the consequences of having children at a young age,” she added.#