Teenage pregnancy dragging PH economic growth – Pernia

MANILA, Philippines – Teenage pregnancy is pulling down the Philippines' economic growth, according to the country's top economist.

In a Rappler Talk on Wednesday, October 23, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said that implementation of family planning programs need to be intensified if the government wants to bring down poverty incidence to just 14% by 2022.

"Kung ma-lessen ang number of children of poorer Filipinos, that in itself will lower poverty incidence," Pernia said.

(If we can lessen the number of children of poorer Filipinos, that in itself will lower poverty incidence)

The Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) earlier reported that there are about 1.2 million children having children every year. Around 30,000 of these young mothers have experienced repeated pregnancies.

For PopCom, the situation is so severe that it called on President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an executive order declaring adolescent pregnancy a national emergency. 

PopCom estimated that P33 billion is lost due to teenage pregnancies every year.

Philippine poverty incidence is at 21.6% as of 2017 and 21% as of the 1st semester of 2018.

Should this goal be realized, around 9 million Filipinos would be living above the poverty line. (READ: PH economy growing but poverty still high – World Bank)

“In terms of per capita gross national income (GNI) will be similar to Malaysia [by 2040],” Pernia said.

Malaysia has a GNI per capita or the average income per individual of around $12,000.

The Philippines' GNI per capita or per person is around $3,900 as of 2018. .– Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.