Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman lauded the overwhelming support of the House of Representatives in its passage on third reading of HB No. 8910 or the “Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Act”.
Lagman emphasized in his explanation of affirmative vote that “legislating a comprehensive law on preventing adolescent pregnancy is imperative to institutionalize policies and strategies on eliminating or mitigating adolescent pregnancy, and extend social protection to adolescent parents and their children.”
He noted that in 2020, adolescent pregnancy was declared a national social emergency and on the same year the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) reported that the “Philippines has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates among the ASEAN member states” and that “more than 500 Filipino adolescent girls are getting pregnant and giving birth every day”.
The Bicol solon underscored that “adolescent mothers should be relics of the very distant past when early childbearing was the norm.”
He stated that due to early pregnancy, many young girls fail to finish basic education, lack adequate skills for remunerative work, and are economically vulnerable, thus perpetuating inter-generational poverty. Lagman stressed that one of the most reliable predictors of future poverty is early childbearing.
He also explained aside from the deleterious consequences of early pregnancy and childbirth on adolescents, early adolescent pregnancies also negatively affect the economy with a yearly average of P33-B forfeited revenues due to lost opportunities and forgone savings consequent to early childbearing.
Lagman said that the government also spends billions of pesos annually for the health care of pregnant teenagers, adolescent mothers, and their infants.
He enumerated the three major programs and strategies to prevent adolescent pregnancies: (1) age and development-appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education; (2) access to contraceptives by adolescents; and (3) comprehensive and adequately-funded legislation.
Lagman, who is also the father of the Reproductive Health Law, stated that “if we are to truly uplift the lives of women, we must start by improving the future of young girls.”
EDCEL C. LAGMAN