DSWD, PopCom to create social protection program for teenage moms
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) have launched a social protection program to assist teenage mothers and their children.
The DSWD and PopCom, in a virtual event Thursday, launched the Social Protection Program for Teen Mothers who are minors and their Children, or SPPTMC.
The two agencies, through a partnership agreement, pledged to develop a data-sharing agreement (DSA) to identify teenage mothers and their children nationwide to implement a social amelioration program in support of young mothers belonging to the lowest socioeconomic bracket, among others.
The two agencies are set to develop programs for teenage mothers and children who are covered by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). The DSWD and PopCom are also set to develop another DSA for non-4Ps beneficiaries.
“We hope that through this partnership, we can mutually prevent teenage pregnancies and establish sufficient and accessible measures to protect the well-being of teenage mothers and their children,” Bautista said in a pre-recorded message during the virtual ceremonial signing of the SPPTMC partnership agreement.
For his part, PopCom Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III said the partnership agreement is timely due to the increasing number of teenage pregnancies in the country.
“The current state of adolescent pregnancies in the country has reached a level of being a national social emergency, an urgent national priority,” he said during the virtual signing. “We can say that it has already taken the magnitude of a calamity or a disaster.”
Perez also stressed that teenage pregnancy has far-reaching social and economic effects on a family with teenage parents.
“These events, which have been repeated thousands of times, can send a young mother’s future, and that of her child’s, in a downward spiral which they can never recover from within their lifetime,” he said.
Perez said that some 160,000 adolescent minors are “projected to be heads of families” this 2021.
The latest available data shows there were about 171 live births born to minors every day in 2019. There were also 4,633 repeat pregnancies or second-time births in 2018, which is only a slight decrease to 5,297 in 2015, according to PSA.
The Philippines ranks fourth in terms of early childbirth rates among Southeast Asian countries, according to PopCom.
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