June 22, 2024

While the fertility rate in the Cordillera has been decreasing, the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) is concerned about a particular age group where pregnancies being recorded: the 10 to 14 years old.

CPD Population Program Officer Job David Manalang said something must be must be done about the increasing number of minors aged 10 to 14, who are giving birth.

Fertility rate in the Cordillera and the country in general has been decreasing, with the rate in 2022 being logged at 2.1 percent in the region and 1.9 percent at the national level.

In 2017, the region’s fertility rate was at 2.5 percent, which was also a decrease from the 2.9 percent in 2013.

The declining fertility rate indicates couples are having lesser kids, which the CPD considers good for the economy as it would mean the couple, especially women, would be able to participate more in the workforce instead of devoting solely their time in raising children.

Manalang, however, said while fertility rate, including teenage pregnancy, had been recording a decline, this does not remove the fact that some children are still giving birth.

In 2020, Manalang said there were 20 children aged 10 to 14 who gave birth, which increased to 21 in 2021, and further jumped to 31 in 2022, based on the last tracking of the Department of Health.

“This is alarming because 10 to 14 (years of age) is not the age for motherhood. This is childhood stage,” he said.

What makes it more a concern, according to Manalang, is the fact the fathers of some of the kids born by the teenage mothers are a lot older than they are.

He said based on the records in the civil registry, some of the fathers belong to the 50 to 80 age range.

Manalang said while the CPD and the DOH are alarmed, they cannot merely go directly to these teenage mothers because of the sensitivity of their situation.

“There are factors that contribute to this and this must be looked into. We at the CPD cannot just go directly to the child and offer our services because of the privacy of the data and we do not exactly know the situation of every child,” Manalang said.

He said the CPD is continuously monitoring this development and focusing its programs on addressing teenage pregnancy in general.

Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center, Inc. Executive Director Abigail Bengwayan-Anongos said this concern should be addressed, especially since the number of violence against women cases has also been increasing, including at the time the lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic were implemented. – Jane B. Cadalig