LAST week, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara sounded the alarm over the increasing teenage pregnancy incidences in the country with greatest surge recorded in three of the six regions in Mindanao: Region X (Northern Mindanao), XI (Southern Mindanao or Davao) and XII (Soccsksargen). The situation appeared to be so serious, that the Commission on Population and Development is contemplating at declaring a “national emergency” over it. The highest first-pregnancy rate is found in Region XI (17.9 percent).
The report on the surge of teen (15-19) pregnancy is, however, confusing because the Fifth (2018) Annual RPRH Report indicated that a decline instead occurred to 8.6 percent in 2017 from 10 percent in 2013, which is the peak of its growth since 1998 (7.2 percent). It is a decline of only 1.4 percent.
Sen. Angara may have received a wrong report on these figures, particularly in the plan to declare a “national emergency” when the change in teen pregnancy in the last five years has declined.
The data came up even when the lack of family planning access remained virtually unchanged or even only slightly declined: 28.7 percent in 2013 and 27.9 percent in 2017. This closely mimicked the change in the first-pregnancy rates.
Interestingly, relative to the teenagers who had their first pregnancy, the teens who refused to use “family planning” tools (contraceptives) more than tripled (3.24 times) in 2017 from more than double (2.87 times) in 2013. This is a positive indicator on the growing awakening of the adolescents on the wisdom of respecting their body by not engaging in premarital sexual activities before marriage.
Moreover, the greatest decline in the use of modern “family planning” tools has been observed in the upper 60 percent of the economic groups in the country. The lower 40 percent continued their increase of use. This indicates that the more affluent and more educated segments of society do not subscribe to the rationale behind contraception. They may have a greater understanding on the Catholic teaching on the respect of the human body and its dignity, and are standing up by their Catholic faith.
Evidently, more teenagers are also starting to stand up for the faith and the theology of the body, even if indirectly so.