By Marie Tonette Grace Marticio
TACLOBAN CITY – The Com-mission of Population expressed alarm over the increasing num-ber of adolescents getting preg-nant in Eastern Visayas.
According to POPCOM Exec-utive Director Juan Antonio Perez, the numbers have increased from 9,094 adolescent pregnancies (4.3%) in Eastern Visayas in 2014, it went up to 9,483 (4.5%) in 2015.
“We are worried na dito sa Region 8, tumataas pa rin ang adolescent pregnancies maski sa ibang regions bumaba na,” he pointed out.
He added that although the numbers of adolescent pregnancy have decreased from 209,000 in 2014 to 207,000 in 2015 all throughout the Philippines, they noted that Leyte, Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar have increased in number.
Leyte has posted 4,677 cases in 2015 from 4,465 in 2014; Samar has 1,660 in 2015 from 1,571 in 2014; Northern Samar has 1,151 in 2015 from 1,042 in 2014; and Eastern Samar has 968 in 2015 from 927 in 2014.
Moreover, he disclosed that the number of very young adoles-cents giving birth is also increas-ing in the Philippines.
“Throughout the country tumataas ang very young ado-pregnancy by 30% from 1,200 in 2014 to 1,900 in 2015, which is alarming because these are very young adolescents,” he shared.
Eastern Visayas has posted a total of 61 cases in 2014 and 66 cases of very young girls giving birth in 2015.
He noted that the earlier children watch pornography, they earlier they would engage in premarital sex.
“Iyong mga behavior such as smoking, drinking and drugs will all lead to premarital sex. But we noted bumaba ‘yung use of drugs among young people in 2013, pero tumaas ‘yung drinking, which is more linked to premarital sex,” he said.
The official hopes that with the full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law and in partnership with other agencies such as DOH DepEd and DSWD, they would be able to empower young girls and integrate age appropriate sexuality education in the K-12 Program next school year.
“Nakikita namin na adolescent pregnancy happens because the young people have the lowest access to family planning and protection. We want to help young people out because adolescent pregnancy deprives people of P33 billion a year worth of economic opportunities since they are not able to finish school or have dropped out,” he explained.