An estimated 538 babies are born to Filipino teenage mothers every day. With more than 1 in 20 girls affected, the Philippines has the second highest rate of teen pregnancies in Southeast Asia.
In this predominantly catholic country, premarital sex is a sin and abortion is illegal. The legal minimum age to marry is 18, yet adults are allowed to have sex with children from the age of 12, if they consent. Pressure from the catholic corner leads to inadequate sex education and a lack of access to birth control. As a result, some teenagers do not know that pregnancy results from sex and a variety of myths circulate amongst youngsters.
The government declared the topic a national emergency. The University of the Philippines Population Institute and the UNFPA predict an escalation of the situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.