Press Release
February 7, 2023

Opening Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros
Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality Hearing
February 7, 2023

Aside from the three bills being considered today, we note that Senate Resolution 462. authored by Sen. Angara entitled, Resolution Directing the Appropriate Senate Committee to Conduct an Inquiry, In Aid of Legislation on the Alarming Increase of Pregnancies Among 10 to 14 Year Olds has been filed and is awaiting referral, most likely to this Committee.

Last 2021, it was reported that there were 386,000 Filipino girls (or 6.8% of girls aged 15-19) who have begun childbearing. This translated to around 306,000 girls who have already given birth and 79,000 girls who are then pregnant with their child. These numbers, believe it or not, are an improvement of the childbearing rates reported a decade ago, when the teenage childbearing rate was at 13.7%.

While the trend for teen pregnancies among girls aged 15-19 are declining, a recent worrisome trend among girls aged 10-14 has been emerging. In 2021, pregnancy among very young girls increased, with 2,113 births recorded from these age group in 2020 (PSA data) to 2,299 in 2021 (DOH data).

As legislators and leaders of implementing agencies, everyone here in the room has a responsibility for each and every one of these young parents. There is an urgent need to improve the current legal framework that limits the remedies that address the prevention of adolescent pregnancies and to build on the victories that we have already secured in terms of upholding the sexual and reproductive health rights of adolescent Filipinos.

There had been efforts from local chief executives to combat the issue of adolescent pregnancies. Initiatives from the province of Isabela, and the cities of Naga, Tuguegarao, and Quezon City, among others, demonstrate that local leaders see an urgent need to address the needs of adolescent parents through the issuance and approval of ordinances and implementation of relevant programs. These efforts underline the urgent need for a national policy to ensure that all Filipino adolescents are catered to, not just young Filpinos in select municipalities, cities, and provinces who are fortunate to reside in places with ordinances and programs in place.

With these said, I look forward to hearing from our NGAs and stakeholders to see their recommendations on how we can work together in reducing adolescent pregnancies in the country.

Thank you very much.

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