June 21, 2024

The Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) has underscored the importance of engaging the community with programs that aim to spread awareness on the risks of teenage pregnancy to local government units.
“We need to intensify community participation through comprehensive sexuality education beyond the school by engaging other stakeholders,” said Popcom Chief Juan Antonio Perez III.
He acknowledges the accomplishments of The Challenge Initiative (TCI) program that aims to accelerate the reduction of teenage pregnancies in the Philippines by establishing adolescent-friendly health facilities that promote positive health-seeking behavior and improve access to family planning programs.
The program is co-managed and co-funded by the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, and co-implemented with the POPCOM and the Department of Health.
Currently, the cities of Baguio, Santiago, San Jose, Biñan, Naga, Tacloban, Iloilo, Tagum, Tacurong, and General Santos are designing and implementing their own interventions, which will be based on the best practices from other TCI Hubs in other countries.
“With more cities recognizing the urgency to reduce teenage pregnancy, TCI Philippines continues to lay the groundwork for interventions that local governments can implement,” Perez added.
He said TCI Philippines and Popcom have conducted advocacy meetings with 90 cities including the 10 new additions.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that adolescent birth rates were at 31 per 1,000 girls in 2020, which is lower than 47 per 1,000 based on the 2017 National Demographic Health Survey.
In 2019, adolescent births (below 18 years old) were at 62,510. It dropped to 56,428 in 2020.
The country baseline target in the Philippine Development Plan by 2022 is 37.
Popcom, on the other hand, aims to halve the baseline of 57 per 1,000 as stated in the 2013 NDHS, to 37 per 1,000 by 2022. – PNA