By RHAYDZ B BARCIA
LEGAZPI CITY: The Philippines has the highest cases of teenage pregnancy in Asia wherein 20 percent of maternal death came from teenagers with 500,000 to 800,000 induced abortions annually, Chi Laigo Vallido, advocacy specialist of Forum for Family Planning and Development told Bicol Mail here.
“[The] Philippines is ranked number one in Asia with high prevalence of teenage pregnancy. We want to prevent this as much as possible because out of 21 percent reported maternal deaths everyday 20 percent of these came from teenage pregnancy which is very disturbing,” she said.
Following the increasing cases of teenage pregnancy across the country, at least 500,000 to 800,000 cases of induced abortion took place annually according to the study, Vallido said.
“Before, the youngest teenage pregnancy reported is 15 years old but currently the youngest pregnancy occurrence is 12 years old,” she said.
An estimated 14 to 15 women die every day due to childbirth and pregnancy-related complications in the country.
“Filipinos have fought for the passage of the RH Law for more than 14 years. With this delay, what does this mean for Filipinos who have been waiting for the RH Law?” Vallido said.
The RH Law or RA 10354 was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III on December 17, 2012. However, the implementation of the enacted law was put on hold by the Supreme Court after anti-RH groups questioned the constitutionality of the law that resulted in the issuance of Status Quo Ante-Order to pave the way for the oral arguments between pro and anti-RH groups.
In the Bicol region, the number of teenagers’ ages between 15-19 who have began child-bearing and given birth to their first child doubled from 2006 to 2010 based on the 2010 Family Health Survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO).
“While the rate of teen pregnancy in Bicol is lower compared to other regions, the doubling of incidence needs to be looked into and addressed,” Vallido of Forum for Family Planning and Development, an NGO based in Quezon City but working in several provinces in the country including Albay, said.
“Rather than ignore these statistics, we admire the local government of Albay for engaging Reproductive Health issues head-on that’s why we supported the First Adolescents Congress of the province and we hope that other provinces will also be inspired,” she said.
Various student leaders from 15 towns and three cities of Albay convened in the town of Sto Domingo for the First Adolescents Congress where they discussed the pressing issues being faced by the youth today such as reproductive health, education, poverty, substance abuse, disaster risk reduction, and other issues.
“While Albay is lucky in the sense that their local leaders are determined to address adolescent RH issues, other provinces remain indifferent.
That’s why we need to implement the RH Law now,” Nilda Devera of Health Action Information Network (HAIN) also added.- Bicol Mail