Makabayan bloc wants House to probe ‘alarming’ rise in teenage pregnancies
MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives is seeking an investigation into the “alarming” rise in teenage pregnancies among girls aged 15 and below.
The House bloc—composed of Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas; Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat; ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago—filed House Resolution No. 1571, which directs the lower chamber’s committee on population and family relations to conduct the said investigation.
The lawmakers said despite the implementation of Republic Act No. 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, there has been a rapid increase of unwanted pregnancy among teenagers which, they said, is now considered as a “national and social emergency.”
“Pregnancy among minors is a major health issue, especially for the marginalized sectors who have little to no access to family planning methods, health services and other relevant information on reproductive health,” the lawmakers said in the resolution.
“Minors who are pregnant or who are caring for their newborn babies face worse circumstances amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as reproductive health services and basic social services are inaccessible due to pandemic limitations and age-specific restrictions on mobility,” they added.
Further, the lawmakers said the implementation of R.A. 10354 also needs to be reviewed “in order to address the difficulties in implementing an age and development-appropriate sexuality education and other important government programs under the said law.”
Citing the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom), the lawmakers said a total of 2,411 girls aged 10 to 14 gave birth in 2019.
Meanwhile, a Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report also bared that pregnancy among girls aged 15 and below went up by seven percent in 2019 from 2018, the Makabayan lawmakers said.