/ 8 February 2023

SENATOR Juan Edgardo Angara expressed alarm on the rising number of very young girls getting pregnant and urged the government to address this concern.

The lawmaker filed Senate Resolution 462 to seek an inquiry into the alarming increase of pregnancies among 10 to 14-year-olds to come up with a whole-of-government approach in developing a policy framework to prevent early childbearing and its negative consequences.

He cited data from the Philippine Statistics Authority that revealed births from mothers aged 10 to 14 years old have increased every year since 2016.

Based on the PSA data, the rate of pregnancies among girls aged 10 to 14 has gone up from 11 percent or 1,903 births in 2016 to 2,113 registered births in 2020.

“The decline in pregnancies among 15 to 19-year-old girls is welcome news but the fact that more girls who are a lot younger are becoming mothers already is very alarming and cannot be left unchecked,” the chairman of the Committee on Youth said.

The PSA report also said that majority of the registered adolescent live births involved men who were three to five years older than the girls.

What’s more concerning, Angara noted, was the data on fathers who were more than 10 years older than the teenage mothers, which the PSA pegged at six to seven percent annually from 2016 to 2020.

Apart from the social and moral issues surrounding teenage pregnancies, there are also serious implications on their health and development as individuals.

Angara said the Duterte administration took significant strides in reducing adolescent pregnancies by implementing programs to address its root causes and strengthening the adolescent’s capacity to make autonomous and informed decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.

“What the previous administration initiated was a good start but a lot more needs to be done to bring down the cases of teenage pregnancies, particularly among the 10 to 14-year-olds. This effort requires a whole of government approach and an understanding that this is about caring for the welfare of our children and saving lives,” he said.