Girls should not become mothers yet – Gov. Fernando

Published June 19, 2021, 10:48 AM

by Freddie Velez

“Girls should not become mothers yet. They should be learning while enjoying their childhood.”

Governor Daniel R. Fernando (Daniel R. Fernando Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was emphasized by Governor Daniel R. Fernando in a speech as he called on everyone to help eliminate teenage pregnancy in Bulacan.

Fernando said that the problem of teenage pregnancy has been a long-time crisis not only in Bulacan, the reason why the campaign to educate the youths and parents on the bad effect of this problem continues.

The Bulacan governor said those young mothers are supposedly in schools and not shouldering responsibilities that they don’t understand yet.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Philippines recorded 183,000 live births by teenage mothers (aged 10-19) in 2018.

Bulacan data shows that there were 5,129 teenage pregnancies reported in 2020, slightly lower than the 6,123 cases in 2019.

The National Nutrition Council said that early childbearing may be a threat to the country’s economic growth because they are less likely to complete higher education and have lesser ability to earn more income over the course of a lifetime.

The World Health Organization said that this crisis is associated with higher risk of health problems like anemia, sexually transmitted infections, unsafe abortion, postpartum hemorrhage, and mental disorders such as depression.

A study from Save the Children Philippines shows that there is no single cause for the rising rate of teenage pregnancy, but rather a combination of factors ranging from biological, social, and cultural.

These factors include early sexual debut; lack of access to comprehensive sex information and education; parents, who are identified by adolescents as one of their preferred sources of information on sexual reproductive health information, have limited communication skills; lack of access to family planning services; cultural practices of early union, and lack of adolescent sexuality and reproductive health (ASRH) policies and its full-implementation.

“Mas maraming nagiging biktima nito sa mga mahihirap na lugar na hindi mga nakakapag-aral kaya ito ang pinipilit nating palakasin. Ang edukasyon po sa atin ay libre, kuhanin po natin ang pagkakataon. Wala po tayong sinisisi pero itong mga bata hindi pa nila kayang magdesisyon para sa kanilang sarili. Tulungan natin sila, maging available tayo para sa kanila,” (More victims of this problem are in poor areas, who were not able to go to school, so we tried to strengthen this. The education here is free, take advantage of this opportunity. We blame no one, but these girls are still young and don’t know how to decide for themselves. Let us help and be available for them),” Fernando said.

Moreover, the Provincial Health Office-Public Health is encouraging Rural Health Units and District Hospitals to become an adolescent-friendly health facility; train healthcare workers in providing adolescent-friendly health services; and conduct reproductive health awareness through PYSPESO’s Responsible Youth Towards a Life Ready for the Future (RYTLYF) in schools and through social media.