The Oak Life Journal
Sep | Oct 2022
(Led by Isaiah Cory, our News Feed covers major stories and developments in international orphan care. We believe staying up-to-date is important for every orphanage director and caregiver, as these events can teach us, warn or encourage us, and indirectly impact our homes.)
By Isaiah Cory • 2 min read
The Philippines Seeking Solutions to Teen Pregnancy Rates, A 'National Crisis'
Teenage pregnancy has been considered a national social crisis by the people and government of the archipelagic nation since 2019. According to demographic and health survey data in the years prior, the Philippines had the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Southeast Asia. More startling is that according to the Commission on Population and Development, in 2019 there were nearly 7 births per day by adolescents ages 10-14.
Due to social circumstances and severe economic poverty (exacerbated by intense natural disasters), many young mothers find themselves in the position of being unable to care for their children. These children—some abandoned and neglected—find their way into alternative care. The result is an estimated 2 million orphans.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show declining birth rates during the pandemic (reduced opportunities for sexual encounters having a key role). However, NGOs are already starting to see pre-pandemic patterns return.
In 2021, President Duterte signed an executive order making the prevention of teenage pregnancy a national priority. While people are promoting a variety of approaches to limit pregnancy among adolescents, there can still be great disagreement on what solutions are appropriate. In a country with some of the strictest anti-abortion laws, some are seeking decriminalisation. Others want to increase access to emergency contraception pills. Others want to help reduce the stigma of different forms of contraception. Others are focused on improving the quality and access to sex education.
While some of these solutions may work in concert with one another, people with different political views and temperaments will likely find themselves at odds as they labor to solve this problem. The solution might only come by answering the question, “Where exactly lies the root of this problem?”