SOCIAL EMERGENCY. PopCom said around 2,250 children belonging to the 10-14 age group gave birth in 2018. The figure is more than double the estimated 1,000 in 2007, declaring it a national social emergency. (file photo)

MANILA — The Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) said about 40 to 50 Filipino children aged 10 to 14 years old give birth every week.

PopCom chief Juan Antonio Perez made this report in a recently concluded Senate budget hearing.

On average, there are around 64,000 minors or those 18 years old and below who give birth every year, Perez said.

“So perhaps, overall, with regard to teen pregnancy in the Philippines, 500 youths give birth every day,” he added.

The Philippine Population Management Program’s Directional Plan for 2017 to 2022, states that there are already some 101 million Filipinos in the country, as recorded by the 2015 Population Census.

The latest census is higher by 8.64 million compared with the Population of 92.34 million in 2010, and by 24.47 million compared with the population of 76.51 million in 2000 (PSA, 2016). This exhibits that the pace of growth is slowing down, from 1.9% annual growth rate in 2000-2010 period to 1.7% in 2010-2015.

“In fact, there are about two million Filipinos added to the population every year. If the rate of growth is maintained, about eight million Filipinos will be added by the end of 2020,” it said.

Nat’l Family Week 2020

As the country celebrates the 28th National Family Week from Sept. 21-27, PopCom, along with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), aims to reach a broad audience via live streaming on Facebook to raise awareness bannered by their slogan, “Ang pamilyang protektado, panalo!” (A protected family is a winner!).

On September 26, PopCom’s official Facebook accounts, @OfficialPOPCOM and @UsapTayoSaFP, will host the “Usap Tayo sa FP (Family Planning) with Doc Jeepy” episode.

Perez will discuss PopCom’s various projects, especially its active helpline, which continuously accepts inquiries and requests for family planning services.

Form stronger bonds at home

He added that while the country and the world grapple with a public health crisis, government officials cited the importance of families to form “stronger bonds at home” and take the quarantine period as an opportunity to discuss pressing concerns such as family planning.

“While the situation imposed by Covid-19 is unique in itself– forcing family members to stay at home, it should be a welcome opportunity for them to forge stronger bonds, and also break barriers to discuss matters and topics which before presented discomfort and unease, such as sexuality, responsible parenthood, family planning, and the like,” Perez said in a statement.

In a virtual conference on Monday, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista urged Filipino families to remain hopeful and strong for each other to survive the various dilemmas brought about by the measures implemented to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.

“Ang isang matatag na pamilya na nagpapamalas ng suporta para sa isa’t-isa ay tumutulong upang mapagtagumpayan ang mga problemang panlipunan na dala ng pandemya kabilang ang hindi nakaplanong pagbubuntis, pagkawala ng trabaho at kabuhayan, mga problemang pangkalusugan at pangkaisipan, karasahang batay sa kasarian at iba pa (A resilient family shows support for each other to overcome social problems brought by the pandemic. These include unplanned pregnancy, loss of job or livelihood, mental health problems, sexual harassment, among others),” he shared.

DSWD and PopCom will commence this year’s celebration of the National Family Week with a symbolic ringing of bells by the heads of partner agencies on September 21 at 9 a.m. through online audio-visual presentations.

They have enjoined the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and other religious denominations to do the same as their way of participation. (PNA)

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