CPD concerned by rising pregnancies in young teens

Usec. Lisa Grace Bersales of the Commission on Population and Development presents data on teenage pregnancies in the Philippines. (Mariela Angella Oladive)

By Mariela Angella Oladive

Undersecretary Lisa Grace Bersales of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) has highlighted an alarming increase in pregnancies among young girls aged 10 to 14.

During an awards ceremony for local population offices in Iloilo on Friday, Bersales revealed a startling 55 percent surge in teenage pregnancies since 2019 within this age bracket.

“For girls aged 19 and below, pregnancies are increasing, but what’s even more worrying is those aged 14 and below. Although their numbers are not exceedingly high, the concern lies in the growing pregnancy prevalence among these young girls. Just imagine, a 14-year-old girl already impregnated,” Bersale said.

She emphasized the urgency for targeted interventions and preventive measures to safeguard the health and well-being of these vulnerable adolescents.

CPD-Western Visayas Director Harold Alfred Marshall supported Bersales’ concerns, citing the rapid rise of teenage pregnancies as a call to action.

“The occurrence of teenage pregnancy is accelerating, this calls for appropriate attention to prevent its further increase,” Marshall said in an interview.

Contributing factors include premature exposure to technology, peer influence, and insufficient access to reliable sexual education, according to Marshall. He underscored the often unreliable information found online by these youngsters.

“Most of them (young adolescents) seek information online, however, we cannot ascertain if the information they find is accurate,” he stressed.

Marshall called for joint efforts with various government sectors, including health, social welfare, education, and local governments, to tackle this complex issue.

As part of the intervention strategy, Marshall highlighted DepEd’s comprehensive sexuality education and CPD’s “Ahlam Na!” app, which provides educational games on crucial topics and directs users to expert assistance.