Senate panel vows to tackle PH’s teen pregnancy crisis soonest

Published February 18, 2021, 7:07 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate Committee on Women, Children and Family Relations will tackle the various resolutions calling for an investigation into the rising cases of adolescent pregnancies in the country at the soonest time possible.

(photo from Pixabay)

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate panel, made the commitment on Thursday, Feb. 18, saying she will see to it that the resolutions filed by Senators Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, which all seek an investigation into these alarming teen pregnancies, are heard at the Senate immediately.

“The dramatic rise in teen pregnancies is a health emergency and a social injustice in and of itself. I support the Commission of Population (POPCOM) in their call for the government to declare this a social emergency,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

“It is also of great consequence that the teen pregnancy prevention bill, I authored be discussed again at the Senate. I am willing to accept amendments to the bill so we can finally move forward,” she said.

Hontiveros had earlier filed Senate Bill No. 161 or the “Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy Act of 2018” which seeks solutions to the health and social problems besetting the country’s adolescents.

The bill, she said, seeks to inform young Filipinos and their parents through education programs regarding sex, gender and reproductive health issues. It also seeks more social protection programs for teenage mothers.

Binay, in her Senate Resolution No. 650, noted that two registered births from girls as young as 10 years old have been recorded by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

“The physical and mental health, the education, and the financial independence of these child moms and their children are gambled away. Every time a child gives birth there are more channels for the country to fall deeper into intergenerational poverty,” Hontiveros said.

She also pointed out that even the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has highlighted the negative impact of teenage pregnancy to the country.

“NEDA in 2019 said we lose P24 to 42-billion caused by early childbearing. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate our country, the stakes and the consequences get higher and higher,” Hontiveros added.

“This is not just about the kind of lives they live, but the fact that many of them will die while giving birth,” she stressed.

According to the Social Weather Survey (SWS), she said most Filipinos believe teen pregnancy is the most important problem of women today.“I agree with them. Our greatest failure as a society is when we cannot guide or protect our children who are our most vulnerable. We must stay committed to giving them healthy and good lives. We truly cannot waste a moment longer,” the lawmaker reiterated.