At 53 births per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 19, the teenage pregnancy rate in the Philippines is the highest among the six major economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, surging by 70 percent over one decade, according to United Nations Population Fund.
In Asia, 41 percent of pregnancies are unplanned and 50 percent unwanted. About 28 million women seek abortions every year. Approximately 10.8 million abortions are unsafe, with 40 percent of affected women under 25 years, according to the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership, a network of medical professionals, activists and groups working on women’s right to safe abortion in 13 Asian countries.
Social media has emerged as an effective way to spread awareness in the Philippines, with the country boasting 33 million Internet users, 1.5 million broadband subscribers, 30 million Facebook users and 9.5 million Twitter users, according to Asia Digital Marketing Yearbook 2012.
“Philippines is the second top user in Southeast Asia, sixth in Asia and 17th in the world. Filipinos spend 21.5 hours a week on the Internet,” says Yasmin Tang, executive director of Probe Media Foundation, a Manila-based nonprofit that uses communication for social change. “We need to use social media as a channel to broadcast accurate information from credible sources to those in need. Sexual and reproductive health and rights in the Philippines are under constant fire, with people unaware of how to best look after themselves. Using social media to promote population, reproductive and sexual health discussions allows us to show young people that the choices they make have an impact on society.”
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