MANILA – A social protection program for teenaged mothers and their children will be implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom).
The memorandum of agreement (MOA), to be signed on Thursday (June 10), will create the Social Protection Program for Teenaged Mothers and their Children (SPPTMC) as mandated under the special provision of the 2021 General Appropriations Act.
“Both agencies commit to undertake the activities specified in the MOA to achieve the program’s objectives, including data gathering and research, mobilization, sharing and exchange of databases, and advocacy campaigns,” the DSWD said in a statement on Wednesday.
The move was a response to a University of the Philippines Population Institute and United Nations Population Fund study that showed a 42-percent increase in unintended pregnancies among Filipinos in 2020.
The increase was about 79,000 additional unintended pregnancies per month amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The results also cited a 67-percent hike in unmet needs for family planning among Filipino women.
Only one of 10 in the data was an adolescent.
DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), and PopCom have an existing data sharing agreement (DSA) that will facilitate exchange toward convergence of programs and services for beneficiaries.
The DSA may also be developed to address the needs of minor and teenaged and their children not covered by 4Ps.
The development of the SPPTMC is in its preparatory stage with the agencies collaborating on consultation workshops with stakeholders and rapid appraisal on the situation of teenage pregnancy in the Philippines.
“SPPTMC seeks to prevent teenaged pregnancies and establish sufficient and accessible measures to protect the well-being of teenaged mothers and their children, as envisioned in the Philippine Development Plan and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the DSWD said.
In a previous interview, PopCom chief Director Juan Antonio Perez III said the SPPTMC will have multidimensional sources of protection, such as the possible provision of livelihood.
“These elements will ensure young people everywhere will have meaningful participation and safe spaces during these times, as the pandemic unleashes a host of challenges,” he said. (PNA)