Urgent Call for Passage of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Bill

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The Commission on Population and Development (CPD) is advocating for the swift passage of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Bill in response to the alarming increase in live births among very young girls in the country in 2022.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there was a significant rise in live births among adolescent mothers aged 15 years old and below, with the number reaching 3,135 in 2022, compared to 2,320 in 2021, representing a 35.13 percent increase.

“While live births from adolescent girls aged 14 years old and below only account for 0.22 percent of the total live births recorded, the CPD is deeply concerned about the surge in adolescent pregnancy, particularly among our very young girls,” expressed CPD Executive Director Lisa Grace Bersales.

The CPD reiterates its call for the legislative branch to prioritize the passage of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Bill, emphasizing its significance in addressing the persistent issue of early childbearing and motherhood among a significant number of young Filipino girls.

In September 2023, the House of Representatives approved House Bill 8910, also known as the proposed “Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Act,” on its second reading. This bill aims to establish a national policy to combat the increasing cases of childbearing and childbirth among adolescents.

Bersales emphasized that the passage of this bill is crucial for the implementation of the Philippine Population and Development Plan of Action. One of the plan’s eight key strategies is the advancement of the health and development of Filipino teens, with a specific focus on addressing early parenthood.

The program aims to enhance the implementation and promotion of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in schools and communities, improve adolescents’ access to sexual and reproductive health services and other social support, and foster youth development and participation initiatives at the community level. These initiatives include specific tactics to directly tackle the issue of adolescent pregnancies.

“Beyond these well-designed government plans, the CPD firmly believes that the lasting solution to the prevalent issue of early teen pregnancies should begin at the household level,” Bersales emphasized.

It is crucial to educate parents and guardians about the importance of open communication with their children regarding sexuality and reproductive health. By fostering a supportive and understanding environment at home, adolescents are more likely to make informed decisions and seek appropriate guidance when it comes to their sexual and reproductive well-being.

Furthermore, schools play a vital role in providing comprehensive sexuality education to equip adolescents with the necessary knowledge and skills to make responsible choices and protect themselves from unintended pregnancies.

Community-based initiatives are also essential in creating a safe and supportive environment for young people. By promoting youth development programs and encouraging active participation, communities can empower adolescents to make informed decisions and engage in activities that contribute to their overall well-being.

Addressing the issue of adolescent pregnancy requires a multi-faceted approach that involves legislative action, comprehensive sexuality education, and community involvement. By working together, the government, educational institutions, and communities can create a society where young girls are empowered to make informed choices and fulfill their potential without the burden of early motherhood.

Source: The Manila Times

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