POPCOM: Over 2,000 babies born to mothers 10-14 years old

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 25) — More than 2,000 babies are born to mothers aged 10-14 in the Philippines even amid a drop in the number of childbearing girls who are19 years old and below, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) said on Friday.

In an interview with CNN Philippines’ “Newsroom Ngayon,” officer-in-charge Executive Director Lolito Tacardon said "there might be some element of sexual abuse” involved in the pregnancies of such young girls.

"We are monitoring. Malaki pa rin, around 2,000 pa rin mahigit ang pinapanganak sa mga bata na aged 10-14 which is really very alarming not only in the perspective of health but also in terms dun sa kanilang (of their) overall well-being," he added.

[Translation: The number is still big, around over 2,000 babies are born to girls aged 10-14]

It was not immediately clear if the number is from a particular year or an average over several years.

Citing the recent survey of the UP Population Institute, Tacardon said women who have become childbearing before the age 19 years old have dropped from 8.5% in 2013 to 6.8%.

RELATED: POPCOM: Fertility rate of Filipino women falls to less than 2 kids 

“We are looking at a slower increase in our population in the coming years because of this lowering fertility level sa ating mga kababihan [in our women],” Tacardon said.

Tacardo also said POPCOM sees the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic as a factor in the drop in the country’s fertility rate.

“Noong [kasagsagan ng] pandemya, meroong sense ng pag volunteer mag family planning probably because doon sa hirap ng buhay. Naging conscious na sila doon sa kanilang kakayahan pagbuhay ng kanilang anak,” he said.

[Translation: During the peak of the COVID-19, their families started to volunteer doing family planning because of the hardships of life. They have become conscious of their ability to raise their child.]

He added that the drop in birth rates is an opportunity to intensify a good planning program.

Ang role po ng government ay if ever Filipinos would like to plan their family especially yung number of their children, ang lahat ng pagplaplano ay dapat available,” Tacardo said.

[Translation: If Filipinos want to plan their families, especially the number of their children, the role of the government is to make all family planning methods accessible.]