Teen pregnancy in Bicol declines; spousal violence increases

The number of Bicolano teens getting pregnant has declined from 12,719 in 2014 to 12,498 in 2016, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The preliminary results of the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) released last February 23 also revealed that Bicol holds the second lowest percentage of teens who have begun childbearing.

On the national scale, roughly one in ten women aged 15-19 have begun childbearing. Meanwhile the fertility of Filipino women declined to an average of 2.7 children, from 3.0 in 2013. This decline was associated with the increase in the use of modern family planning (MFP) methods by over 40% among currently married women.

In Bicol, there was an increase in women who are using modern contraceptives in 2017 (32.2 96) compared to the previous (21.2 %in 2013). The rise in contraceptive use may have contributed to the decline of unmet need in family planning in Bicol from 2S.1 % to 21.3 %. This could mean that Bicolanos have gained more access to family planning information and services.

Unmet need for modem FP refers to couples and individuals who are fecund and sexually active and want to limit or space their children but are not using any modern method of contraception.

This is an unprecedented chance for family planning in the last four years which coincided with the first four to five years of implementation of the Responsible Parenthood Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law, Commission on Population (POPCOM) Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez III observed.

POPCOM-V Director Magdalena G. Abellera relates the survey results as good news for women in time for the celebration of Women's Month this March. She said that when women are empowered about fertility, she can create a great impact not only on the family but also in the workforce.

The Director, however, pointed out that there remains a lot of work to do to empower women especially that there were 24 % (highest among regions) of women who experienced physical violence from their husbands or partners. Bicol also has the second highest number of sexual violence cases in the country at 12% 8188 80 CARAGA while ranking S. in emotional violence at 33 %.

"The incidence of spousal violence continues to call for more vigorous and aggressive interventions to end all forms of violence against women. Gains in maternal health can be stalled if women continue to be vulnerable to all types of violence.", Director Abellera added.

She emphasized the need to increase men's involvement through programs that emphasize men, responsibilities like MR GAD (Men, Responsibilities in Gender and Development) and KATROPA (1.Ialakihang Tapat sa Responsibilidad at Obligasyon sa Pamilya). The former intends to uvnsform pilot communities to become more responsive to gender and RH concerns of men and boys while KATROPA aims to engage men in promoting family welfare and wellness by making responsible fertility dedsions and become advocates for the prevention of teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and violence against women and children (VAWC).

POPCOM-V joins the country in the celebrating the Women's Month this March with the theme "We Make Change Work for Women."