Baby boom seen due to pandemic

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Baby boom seen due to pandemic
The Population Commission and Development supported Hontivero’s assertion as the country could record the highest number of births in Philippine history by next year.
Image by Christian Abella from Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines — A baby boom is expected by 2021 with 751,000 babies to be born due to unplanned and teenage pregnancies during lockdown brought about by the novel coronavirus pandemic, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said yesterday, citing a university study.

The Population Commission and Development (PopCom) supported Hontivero’s assertion as the country could record the highest number of births in Philippine history by next year.

Hontiveros said she has been pushing for the passage of a national policy in preventing adolescent pregnancies, institutionalizing social protection for adolescent parents.

“UP Population Institute has predicted a baby boom by 2021; the baby boom is OK, what is not OK is the 751,000 unplanned pregnancies, including teenage pregnancies and as a result of today’s pandemic condition,” Hontiveros said in a radio interview.

Hontiveros said the National Economic and Development Authority claimed rising teenage pregnancy is a social emergency. NEDA is an independent Cabinet-level agency of the government responsible for economic development and planning.

She noted the lockdown since March has further increased the possibilities of unplanned pregnancies, including teenage pregnancies.

“Our hospital and our dying healthcare system are also struggling. There is a huge possibility of not being properly cared for by the mother as well as the child,” she added in Filipino.

Population Commission and Development (PopCom) executive director Juna Antonio Perez agreed with the statement of Hontiveros.

“Although our projection is a bit low… we have the same projection of an increase. The family planning program will be somewhat affected by the lockdowns as women will not be able to avail of the family planning method, while men will not get condoms and vasectomy. The family planning program will be affected definitely and those who can’t afford family planning… will get pregnant. So our population will increase. The number of births next year would be the highest number in the history of the Philippines,” Perez added.

Hontiveros’ proposed measure includes the comprehensive sexuality education, which refers to the process of acquiring complete, accurate, relevant, and age-appropriate information and skills on all matters relating to the reproductive system, its functions and processes, and human sexuality and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, interpersonal relationship, affection, intimacy and gender roles.

She said the comprehensive sexuality education has the purpose of developing the skills of young people for them to make informed decisions such as the capacity to distinguish between facts and myths on sex and sexuality, and critically evaluate and discuss the moral, religious, social and cultural dimensions of related sensitive issues such as contraception and abortion, and decide to prevent risky behavior that can undermine the realization of their aspirations and potentials.

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