TACLOBAN CITY -- The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) has tagged teenage pregnancy as one of the causes of poverty in Eastern Visayas region.

While there is no official statistics linking poverty and early pregnancy, Neda-Eastern Visayas Regional Bonifacio Uy said teenagers who drop out of school and raise children have more chances of suffering economic difficulties.

“If a teenager will become pregnant, she might not be emotionally and financially ready to support her child. She will need assistance from the government, hence, more resources will be devoted to her,” Uy explained.

Early marriages and child bearing affects school survival rate, according to Neda. If they quit school, chances of getting good jobs are low.

Such is the case of food vendor Mayla Tabones, 39, a resident of T. Claudio village here. She was just 18 when she gave birth to her first child.

“I am a single mother with three children. I have to double my income to feed and send them to school,” said Tabones, who earns an average of PHP250 daily from selling.

The mother sees herself as an accomplished educator had she finished college.

In Eastern Visayas, 9.7 percent of females aged 15 to 19 are already mothers, according to the 2014 Young Adult and Fertility Survey.

Teenage pregnancy is closely linked to poverty and single parenthood, according to the study.

The growth in single parent families remains the most significant reason for increased poverty. In the region, 78.9 percent of teenage mothers are single parents.

The region posted a 38.7 percent poverty incidence in 2015. That means 38 out of every 100 persons in the region are impoverished or their income are below the basic monthly requirement.

Based on estimates, there are 1.75 million people in the region tagged as poor in 2015. This is lower than 1.88 million poor people in 2012. (PNA)