Senator says her bill is answer to teen pregnancies
MANILA, Philippines—A senator called for passage of a bill she authored and filed seeking to prevent teen pregnancies through sex education and other means, reacting to a report that a rise in teenage pregnancies alarmed authorities in Eastern Visayas.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros said her bill was the answer to a report quoting Enora Pulma, Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) regional director, as expressing alarm over the rising number of teenagers in Eastern Visayas engaged in premarital sex in the context of the region being among the poorest in the Philippines.
The report quoted Pulma as saying 9,483 teenagers in the region got pregnant in 2015. Two were barely 10-year-old, she said.
“The spike in teenage moms not only in Eastern Visayas but all over the country is no joke,” Hontiveros said in her statement in Filipino.
“Because they are young when they become moms, more and more teenagers lose the opportunity to study, work, and accomplish their dreams in life,” she added.
Hontiveros’ Senate Bill No. 161, or the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Bill, seeks a comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education programs for Filipino youth.
It also seeks to provide social protection programs for teenage mothers, including maternal health services, workshops and livelihood. It also seeks to give medical, legal and other services to teen moms who had been victims of sexual abuse or violence.
Hontiveros said she will also push for additional funding for the Department of Health (DOH) for sex education programs and free reproductive health supplies to curb teen pregnancies especially in some of the country’s poorest communities.
She said the youth, especially girls, should be given “a fighting chance to live better lives.”
“We have to put our money where our mouth is,” Hontiveros said./TSB
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