Growing number of orphans in PH worrisome, says NACC
MANILA, Philippines — The National Authority for Child Care (NACC) has expressed concern over what it called an “orphan crisis” as it cited the growing number of children under Child Caring Agencies (CCAs) and Residential Care Facilities (RCFs) nationwide.
As of December 2022, the CCAs and RCFs have 5,875 children, including 1,369, who are being processed for adoption, according to the NACC.
In line with International Women’s Rights and Peace Day on March 8, the agency discussed why mothers abandon their children and other issues regarding abandoned children.
“Let us not castigate the parents, especially the mothers of these children. Rather, it is our job to look into the reasons why mothers have to abandon their young one(s),” NACC Executive Director Undersecretary Janella V. Estrada said in a statement.
“A mother who abandons her child(ren) is desperate to ensure her young lives. Such parent is either a victim of domestic violence, suffering from substance addiction, adolescent mother aged 19 years old or younger, one who does not have the means and resources to raise a child, and for many more reasons, they just have to do it,” she added.
Estrada further noted that 12,543 and 16,966 reported abuse and violence cases were committed against women and children, respectively. She cited the data from Sustainable Development Goal No. 05 on achieving gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls with a sub-target on eliminating violence.
“The numbers tell us that amidst an era of women empowerment, violence and abuse against women and children continue to weave into our very social fabric. They are physically and or sexually abused, chastised, neglected, and left to fend for their survival,” she said.
She added that about 10.3 percent of live births in 2020 were by mothers aged 15 to 19.
In 2022, there were 1,528,684 live births. Of this figure, 157,060 were by adolescent mothers, while 3.7 percent were high-risk pregnancies covering the age group 17 years old and younger, according to Estrada.
“All those lead us to the basic yet structural issues: access to education, healthcare, decent jobs, and livelihood opportunities. These are components for economic freedom that prevents a woman from settling for the indignity and removes her from a situation where her life and that of her child is at stake,” she explained.
Estrada said the NACC hopes to see more provisions for women to explore opportunities that will help them secure a future so that leaving their children will no longer be an option.
“A woman should not be imprisoned in a fatal environment, she should not be tied down to do precarious work in unsafe working conditions with less pay and benefits, nor a woman be a victim of her own doing due to drug addiction and alcoholism,” she lamented.
“An injury to one is an injury to all. This International Women’s Rights and Peace Day, may we continue to celebrate women’s contribution to nation-building with a clear focus on the deeply-rooted causes of child abandonment and how it can be prevented,” she continued.