About 40 to 50 Filipino girls aged 10 to 14 years old are giving birth every week, the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) today said.
PopCom Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo that this brings up the number of teen pregnancies to double what it was a decade back. He expressed concern over this trend, which occurred despite the existence of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, a law that guaranteed universal access to contraception methods, fertility control, and sexual education.
“For the entire year, 2,250 [girls aged] 10 to 14-year-old gave birth in 2018. Ten years ago in 2010, there were only 1,000, so the number doubled,” Perez said in English and Filipino.
Meanwhile, he said an average of 64,000 minors aged below 18 give birth every year, or around 500 teenagers a day.
Perez said in June that at least 2 million Filipino babies are expected to be born next year due to the difficulty of accessing contraceptives while most parts of the country are under varying degrees of quarantine. He said today that about 200,000 Filipinos below 20 years old are expected to become parents next year.
Yesterday, the PopCom chief told lawmakers in a Senate hearing that many pregnant teens between 10 to 17 years old have partners who are older than them and warned of a possible “element of power play and exploitation.”
In response, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri proposed to raise the age of statutory rape from the current 12 years old to 16 to protect the youth. Zubiri added that the Philippines is among the countries with the lowest age of consent.