The ex-reporter and now Laguna Third District Representative Sol Aragones filed a bill to prevent teenage pregnancy. | Photo from philStar.com
One of the many concerns for the media-practitioner-turned-legislator Sol Aragones last Friday was the rise of teenage pregnancy in the country. 

The Third District Representative of Laguna promotes House Bill 337, also known as the Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Responsibility and Opportunity Act which seeks to give information on the bad effects of early pregnancy and how it can be prevented.

Aragones believed that teens growing up in disadvantageous economic, social and familial circumstances are more likely to engage in risqué behavior and have a child during adolescence.

She further said this bill would make grants to local educational and public health agencies to provide educational support for the prevention of teenage pregnancy.

Recently, reports on the increase of teenage pregnancy in the country have become alarming.

Teenage pregnancy in the country rose by about 70 percent from the span of 10 years from 1999-2009, according to the 2011 annual report of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)-Philippines.

Data from the National Statistics Office show that from 2000-2010, teenage pregnancy in the country has increased by 65 percent, despite an almost 14 percent decline in teenage marriage in the same period. 

The increase was notable among girls aged 15 to 19, with which live births rose 38 percent from 2006 to 2011.

Another study conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed a growing trend on the number of first-time mothers among teenage girls from 19.5 percent in 2000 to 26.7 percent in 2010.

These reports confirm the rate of teenage pregnancy in the country as among the highest in the ASEAN region and the only country where the rate is increasing, as shown by data gathered from the National Youth Commission.

Serious health problems are also connected with bearing a child in adolescence, for a high rate of teen pregnancy also means a high risk for maternal deaths among young women.

Records from NSO show that from year 2000 to 2010, there were more than 1,500 maternal deaths each year which account from its lowest at 82 in 2001 to as high as 164 deaths in 2010, seeing a high jump rate from 4.6 percent to 9.8 percent, respectively

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