MANILA (UPDATED) - Sex at 9 years of age, a mom at 10.
The Philippines recorded annually over a 3-year period at least 40 childbirths from Filipino kids, a population official said Thursday.
This translates to 151 babies born to 9-year-old moms for the years 2011-2014, according to data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
“This means kids as young as 9 years old are having sex, getting pregnant and giving birth a year later,” Juan Antonio Perez III, Commission on Population executive director, said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
The figures tell a story: at least 15 babies were born to 10-year-old moms in the Philippines in 2011. This rose to 43 births to 10-year-old moms in 2012, 50 births in 2013, and 43 births in 2014.
PSA data also show higher birth rates as the ages of the moms go up: in 2011, there were 31 babies born to 11-year-old moms, 43 babies born to 12-year-olds, 152 babies for 13-year-olds, and 1,140 babies for 14-year-old moms.
All the data are based on registered birth records from the Civil Registration Service.
The data, however, did not indicate if the young moms were victims of rape. Perez noted that the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS) study says there have been cases of young girls in Zamboanga Peninsula who admitted that their first sexual encounters were unplanned, with some saying that there was an “element of force” in the first sexual encounter.
Perez said the figures are alarming, especially when you include the 130,000 total number of births from moms aged 18 years old and below. The Philippines adds about 2 million newborns every year at an annual population growth rate of 1.7 percent, he said.
Cebu province had the highest number of teenage pregnancies every year at 11,000.
“Removing the births from moms ages 19, we still have 130,000 families led by minors being created every year. That’s one or two towns of minors being created every year. You have to provide special services to these 130,000 new families. These nuclear families, sila ang mag-aalaga at mag-aabsorb ng mga bata. There’s also the stigma of having a baby at a very young age,” he said.
The Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS) earlier showed an increasing proportion of youth who start sexual activity before age 18--from 13 per cent in 1994 to 23 per cent in 2013 for both males and females.
Among males, this proportion increased from 13.8 per cent in 1994 to 25.1 per cent in 2013, while for females the increase was from 12 per cent in 1994 to 22 per cent two decades later.
The study also showed that 13.6 percent of girls aged 15 to 19 years old, or about 700,000, became mothers, up from 6.3 percent in 2002.
INTERNET AND PORN
Perez said the YAFS study also showed several factors that influence sexual behaviors in different parts of the country.
One example cited in the YAFS regional study for Metro Manila showed that 92.3 percent of young people in the National Capital Region use the Internet while 84.8 said they own a cellphone.
At least 66.2 percent of Metro Manila youth said they have watched porn, while 36 percent said they have visited websites with sexually explicit content.
The YAFS study also showed adolescents in Central Luzon who were exposed to the Internet early were also more likely to initiate sex.
Mass media is also the main source of information about sex among millennials in the Calabarzon region. The YAFS study covered 19,000 youths nationwide, or about 1,000 in each region, in face-to-face and one-on-one survey with many cross-checks to ensure reliability of the information.
The 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS4) was implemented by the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, Inc. and the University of the Philippines Population Institute with Funding from the Australian Government, United Nations Population Fund and the Department of Health through the Philippine Center for Health Research and Development.