By Wilnard Bacelonia
MANILA – The Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) has urged young women to stay focused on their life ambitions to avoid early pregnancy and finish their schooling.
“Mangarap sila. Magkaroon sila ng plano sa buhay nang sa ganoon ay meron silang motibasyon para makapagtapos ng pag-aaral (They should dream. They should create plans for their lives so that they will have the motivation to finish school),” Popcom Deputy Executive Director Lolito Tacardon said during a televised interview aired over One PH on Wednesday evening.
Tacardon also urged young girls “to consult with their parents and adults, and to be critical in absorbing information they get from the Internet.”
He made the call after the release of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data which showed that between 2016 and 2020, registered births to adolescent mothers aged 10 years to 14 years increased by 11 percent, from 1,903 in 2016 to 2,113, or 0.14 percent of all registered births in 2020.
The worse part of the data, Tacardon said, is the fact that most of the young girls were impregnated by older men aged 20 years and above.
“In such situation nababahala tayo dahil alam naman natin (we are alarmed because we know that) in the first place, yung mga edad na yun ay sa batas natin sexual abuse na yun (at those ages, it is considered by our laws as sexual abuse),” he said.
Tacardon said Popcom, together with other concerned agencies, has emphasized in various programs the goal of the government in giving the adolescents the capacity to reach for their ambitions in life.
Relatedly, Senator Sonny Angara has filed Senate Resolution 462 to discuss the alarming data and create new policies that will solve the problem.
“Nakakabahala ang usaping ito at posibleng lumala kung hindi mabibigyan ng kaukulang atensyon (This issue is alarming and could possibly worsen if not properly addressed),” the chair of the Senate Committee on Youth said.
Angara said among the solutions is to strengthen the government’s campaign against teenage pregnancy, such as its comprehensive sexuality education and reproductive health and rights services. (PNA)