Rep. Lawrence Fortun is seeking ways on how to stop unwanted teen-age pregnancy in the country.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that 1.039 million babies were born from January to September 2020 at the height of COVID-19 lockdown.
IT APPEARS that one of the very few things that the COVID-19 pandemic failed to slow down in the country is the Filipinos’ prolific ability to procreate a baby.
This, after a data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that 1.039 million babies were born from January to September 2020, or the period when strict lock down measures were imposed.
As a result, experts and child rights advocates are calling those born in the said period as‘lockdown babies’.
The figures do not indicate the ages of their parents, but it is widely believed that most of these are unwanted teenage pregnancies and childbirths.
As Rep. Lawrence Fortun, Agusan del Norte, 1st district, explained “what would count as lockdown babies are those born around November 2020 to February 2021 or 8 to 9 months after the enhanced community quarantine imposed from March to May 2020”.
“I include eight months for those born before due date. It would be interesting to see any increase in childbirths from June onwards compared to past years,” he added.
He also asked the Congress secretariat to “check the latest data on hospital childbirths and birth registrations from January 2020 until now, so we can check if teenage pregnancies and childbirths increased during the community quarantines.
“Perhaps, a sampling of verified data from the DOH regional medical centers and some of the largest private hospitals might give some initial indications on the current state of teenage pregnancies in some parts of the country,” he also said.
With adolescent pregnancy now being tagged as a “national social emergency” by experts and cause-oriented groups, he strongly urged his colleagues in the House to pass House Bill No. 6579 or the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Act, which he authored.
He said the measure will be part of the whole-of-government approach in arresting maternal mortality and morbidity that have immense repercussions on our country’s sustainable development agenda.
The Population Commission noted that in 2019 a total of 62,510 Filipino minors gave birth, of which 2,411 of them are aged 10 to 14.
In addition, the UP Population Institute said teenage pregnancy may have increased by 21.04 percent as a result of the nationwide lockdown.
The solon thanked PopCom for recently bringing to public attention the pre-pandemic 2019 increase in the number of teenage pregnancies in the country, which he would take up with the House Committee on Youth and Sports Development, to serve as an impetus to expedite action on relevant pending bills including HB 6579.
Child rights advocates have identified that 7.5 million Filipinos do not have birth certificates, the fundamental and indispensable document that establishes identity, nationality and citizenship…Of the 7.5 million Filipinos unregistered, about half of that are children.