TEENAGE pregnancy in the country decreased by 10 percent in 2020, according to the Commission on Population and Development (Popcom).
The data comes as the commission celebrates its 53rd foundation anniversary, and according to its Executive Director, Juan Antonio Perez 3rd, the agency is now at the “crossroads” when it comes to developing its population policy.
Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, only 56,428 pregnancies from mothers ages 10-17 were reported in 2020, down from the 2019 figure of 62,510, or around 6,082 births.
All regions registered a drop in teenage births, with the National Capital Region (NCR) having the most number at 1,004, from 7,536 in 2019 to 6,532 in 2020. Zamboanga Region also recorded a decline from 2,574 in 2019 to 2,139 in 2020.
Perez said that the decrease was not only because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic but of other factors, including the agency’s continued collaboration with government agencies, local government units and other stakeholders in upholding the welfare of Filipino youth.
In a briefing on Friday, Perez stressed that the country is now experiencing a demographic transition where it is experiencing lower fertility rates and even lower infant mortality rates that could usher economic development for the country to achieve “demographic dividend”.
“Demographic dividend” is the economic growth caused by a shift in the population structure where more members of the 15-64 age group are working.
“The challenge remains that there are still areas in the country where there is high fertility and family incomes are quite low… All the elements are there to achieve a demographic dividend,” Perez added.
He also hoped that the next administration would continue the programs such as the social protection programs for adolescent mothers, which will begin in 20 pilot local government units by March.