(09 June 2021)In an effort to address teenage pregnancies in the country, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) will undertake the Social Protection Program for Teenage Mothers and their Children (SPPTMC) as mandated under the special provision of the 2021 General Appropriations Act of 2021.

This partnership will be reinforced through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to be signed by DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista and POPCOM Undersecretary for Population and Development and Executive Director Juan Antonio A. Perez III on June 10, 2021 to be broadcasted live via DSWD and POPCOM’s official Facebook pages.

The partnership aims to establish a social protection program specifically for teenage mothers who are minors and their children.

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.

Under the MOA, the DSWD, through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), and POPCOM have an approved and existing data sharing agreement (DSA) to facilitate the data exchange towards convergence of programs and services for the existing 4Ps beneficiaries. Both agencies agree to utilize said DSA to develop possible interventions or programs specific for teenage mother and their children covered under the 4Ps.

Another DSA may be developed to address the needs of teenage mothers and their children not covered by the 4Ps. The DSWD and POPCOM shall ensure compliance to Republic Act No. 10173, or the Data Privacy Act of 2012, for the protection of personal information gathered towards and during the implementation.

The development of the SPPTMC is in its preparatory stage with both agencies collaborating on the conduct of consultation workshops with stakeholders and rapid appraisal on the situation of teenage pregnancy in the Philippines.

SPPTMC seeks to prevent teenage pregnancies and establish sufficient and accessible measures to protect the well-being of teenage mothers and their children, as envisioned in the Philippine Development Plan and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

DSWD and POPCOM mutually recognize the importance of preventing pregnancies among teenagers because of the life-long implications on the well-being of young people, a population group that is vital in national development

DSWD initiative vs teenage pregnancy

Meanwhile, in 2020, the DSWD through the Social Technology Bureau, in its response to address teenage pregnancy, has initially developed a concept paper on “TEEN SUPPORT: Psychological Support and other Interventions for Teenage Parents and their Families”, with teenage parents below 18 years old as beneficiaries. It aims to protect and promote the psychological well-being and improve the capacity of teenage parents in performing their expected roles as young adults and responsibilities as parenting youth.

The project components include, Online Psychological Support; Family Life Enrichment Sessions, and Direct Assistance and Referral Services, either online or face-to-face. It will be implemented for a period of six months in 2022 after the finalization of the program design based on the results of the rapid appraisal research.

Through Teen Support, it is envisioned that young parents are able to prevent future unplanned and repeated pregnancies, cope with the demands of parenting, and perform their social roles both as teenagers and parents.