While teen pregnancy has been a constant problem among developing nations, the Philippines is facing a much more disturbing trend: pre-teen pregnancy.
Filipino children at age nine engage in sex and get pregnant by age 10, an official from the country’s Commission on Population announced.
According to the statistics quoted by Commission on Population executive director Juan Antonio Perez III, Filipino children gave birth to 40 babies each year over a 3-year period.
In the data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority, there have been 151 cases of child births from 9-year-old moms from 2011-2014.
“This means kids as young as 9 years old are having sex, getting pregnant and giving birth a year later,” Perez told ABS-CBN News.
In 2011, there were a total of 15 10-year-old moms in the country. The number ballooned to 43 births from 10-year-old moms in 2012, then 50 births in 2013 and 43 births in 2014.
Birth rates also grow higher as the ages go up: in 2011, for instance, 31 babies were born to 11-year-old moms, 43 babies from 12-year-olds, 152 babies from 13-year-olds, and 1,140 babies from 14-year-old moms.
All the information was sourced from official birth records from the Civil Registration Service.
It is important to note, however, that the data is not able to determine and specify whether the pre-teen mothers were rape victims.
According to the Commission’s Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS) study, some of the young girls in the Zamboanga region claimed that their first sexual encounters were not planned. An unspecified number also reportedly claimed that they experienced an “element of force.”
The research, which involved one-on-one interviews of 19,000 youths nationwide, also found that the rest of the young Filipino moms who are aged 18 years old and below account to the 130,000 total number of births per year.
The commission cited several factors that reportedly influence sexual behaviors in the children throughout the country, with internet and access to porn mentioned as the top influencers.
YAFS regional study concluded that those who were exposed to the internet at a younger age were also more likely to engage in sexual activity.
Another source of sexual influence mentioned in the report is the mass media, which is observed to be the main source of information about sex among millennials in the Calabarzon region.