The pandemic’s detrimental effects on health and well-being have spread widely among members of the Philippine population, and its adverse effects have crept up to the level of Filipino adolescents, according to the executive director of the Commission on Population and Development Undersecretary Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez III.

Speaking to a global audience at the recent ECOSOC Youth Forum on the occasion of World Health Day, Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio Perez III stated that the Philippines, as a country currently quarantined by the community, had witnessed the health crisis have a significant impact on young people’s sexual and reproductive health.

POPCOM’s head cited data from the University of the Philippines and the United Nations Population Fund’s 2020 study, which found a 42 percent increase in unintended pregnancies and a 67 percent increase in unmet family planning needs among Filipino women. According to these figures, he stated that more than one in ten were still in their teens.

To address these concerns, Dir. Perez revealed that POPCOM will spearhead a social protection program for adolescents who became parents during the pandemic, particularly the “first-timers.” He stated that the Philippine government will work continuously and comprehensively to meet their needs through constant communication with young family heads.

Director Perez urged countries to adopt a societal approach that recognizes adolescents as vulnerable members of the community. This, he explained, is possible through a variety of protection mechanisms, including social safety nets, social insurance, social assistance, and possible livelihood provision in labor markets.