By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA, 10July2013 (PNA) – The head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Philippines said the reported increase in the number of teenage pregnancy in the country is an issue that must be addressed.
“I don’t know where they got the information but if it’s true then it is a question that we need to address,” said CBCP president Archbishop Jose Palma after the Mass officiated by the bishop at the Nuestra Senora de Guia (Ermita Church) in Manila Tuesday.
Asked what might be the reason behind the supposed increase, the Cebu prelate said, “Other people think that (by) using contraceptives such as condoms or pills they will not get pregnant. We all know that it is not 100 percent sure to prevent pregnancy.”
He added, “Could it be also the result of a false notion about use of contraceptives and other devices but it could also be as we said a result of morality of a nation.”
However, Palma said the survey should have specified where in the country the supposed increased was recorded.
“It should be an issue that should concern all of us if we care for our young girls because as we all know it’s not the ideal situation that we would like to happen,” he added.
He was also asked if they observe the reported rise in teenage pregnancy in the diocese.
“Parang hindi naman masyado…I really don’t know kasi ang daming tao hindi naman tinitingnan yung tiyan ng mag tao e,” the outgoing CBCP president said.
Palma said that on the part of the church what they could do is to educate the people.
“We know that the role of the Church is education, as always we try to inculcate the christian values…sinasabihan na love can wait, mag aral muna. They will have their proper time and this is what we usually teach,” he added.
For his part, Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reye said that to prevent such thing to happen is to teach people to have self control and to have the right values in life.
He also echoed the statement of Palma on the observation of pregnant teen in the diocese.
“I did not hear that there’s such an increase of teen pregnancy. Meron din teen pregnancy but if there’s a big increase I didn’t hear anything about it,” Reyes added.
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes and Baguio Bishop Carlito Cenzon both said that they did not observe teenage pregnancy in their dioceses.
For his part, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said that the increase would not come from Metro Manila, saying that faith of the people here are still intact.
“It’s not as markedly as in Metro Manila since most teens here are still protected by the family and their faith. Many engage in premarital sex because of the proliferation of pills, condoms and pornography. But again not as many as in metro,” he added.
Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said that they have notmade a formal study, but what is important is education and formation of correct values. And this starts at home, in the school and community.
On Monday, the United Nations Population Fund reported that teenage pregnancy in the Philippines has increased by 70 percent within 10 years since 1999 when 114,205 births were registered to 195,662 in 2009.
The figure translate that almost 10 percent of Filipino women aged 15 to 19 have already given birth. (PNA)