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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) has revealed an alarming trend overshadowing the surge of teen pregnancy in Northern Mindanao: many teenagers are getting impregnated by adults at least five years older than them.
“This is sexual abuse. No minor can give proper consent to sex,” PopCom-Northern Mindanao Director Neil Aldrin Omega said on Wednesday, August 23.
Omega noted that currently, an average of 30 to 33 minors are giving birth daily, resulting in 11,000 to 12,000 new teenage mothers each month in Northern Mindanao.
Omega said poverty is the main reason why more minors are getting pregnant.
“Most of these teenagers come from poor families. When there are adults who offer them gifts or favors that their families could not give them, chances are they will give in to whatever that adult wants from them,” said Omega.
PopCom data showed Cagayan de Oro City ranking 7th among all the cities in the Philippines in terms of teenage pregnancies.
Omega said continued education and raising awareness are still the key to reducing teenage pregnancy in the city and Northern Mindanao.
According to the National Demographic and Health Survey last year, teenage pregnancy in the region dropped by 3.8% from 14.7% in 2017.
However, the 3.8% is still the highest among all regions in the country, the survey read in part.
Philippine Statistics Authority-Northern Mindanao (PSA-X) chief statistical specialist Sarah Balagbis said 7% of the teen mothers in the region, aged 15 to 19 years old, gave birth successfully, 4% were pregnant at the time of the survey, while less than 1% had miscarriages. – Rappler.com