Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday urged her colleagues to approve a bill seeking to prevent adolescent pregnancy as she sounded the alarm over the rate of 24 babies being born to young Filipino mothers every hour in the country.
“We cannot afford to have more and more children having children, Mr. President. The problem of adolescent pregnancy is completely preventable and doing little to prevent will end up in a lose-lose situation,” Hontiveros said as she presented to the plenary Committee Report 45 or the Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy Act of 2020.
“It perpetuates the intergenerational cycle of poverty and robs our children of their childhood. It is our duty as legislators and as parents to provide them with the knowledge they need, and to empower them to making good choices and informed decisions as they grow into adulthood,” she added.
Hontiveros said the bill, approved by the Senate committee on women, children, family relations, and gender, pushes for the rights of adolescents and their evolving capacities, one that is rooted in the principles of human rights and supported by interventions backed by evidence.
She said it also pushes for the social protection of young parents by ensuring that the young mothers are getting the health care necessary at all stages of their pregnancy.
She also said that workshops and counseling services are also to be made available for them to ensure that they can get all the help and counsel they need when it comes to raising their child.
“By providing them with much needed guidance and information, we can prevent repeat pregnancies among our young mothers while we ensure their physical and mental well-being as they take on the heavy responsibilities of parenthood,” she said.
Hontiveros said the bill also provides strong protection for young girls and pushes for their right to continue their education despite the barriers presented to them.
She said flexible learning options are proposed in order to minimize the chances of disrupted education and to encourage young parents to continue and finish their education.
“Disrupting a girl’s education because of her pregnancy exacerbates poverty. Low educational attainment adversely affects the lifelong earnings of a girl for the rest of her life. Education is so important, Mr. President. So much so that if we do not take our girls back to school, we stand to lose P33 billion in lost income,” she said.
She said the proposed measure recognizes the fact that young Filipinos are heaving earlier sexual initiations, sometimes unwanted and usually unprotected, and has made measures to equip children with the knowledge and guidance to make choices that they believe are the best for themselves.
She said schools, parents, and guardians are recognized as important sources of unbiased and scientifically accurate information on sexual and adolescent reproductive health and as such, are respectively capacitated and trusted to deliver the correct and necessary information to teenagers. — BM, GMA News