Statement of Senator Hontiveros on the country’s teen pregnancy crisis

Sampung taon nang patuloy na umaakyat ang mga kaso ng mga batang nabubuntis. Ito’y sampung taon na napapabayaan ang kababaihan at kabataan natin, at ang kinabukasan nila. Sampung taon gulang din ang edad ng iilan sa mga child mothers, na nalalagay sa peligro ng kamatayan dahil minsan hindi nakakaya ng mga katawan nila.

As the Chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children and Family Relations, I will see to it that the resolutions filed by Senators Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara, and Leila de Lima, which all seek an investigation into these alarming teen pregnancies, are heard at the Senate immediately. Ang nakataya dito sa pag-iimbestiga natin sa krisis na ito ay ang kapakanan, kinabukasan, mga pangarap at ang mismong buhay ng susunod na henerasyon ng mga Pilipino.

The dramatic rise in teen pregnancies is a health emergency and a social injustice in and of itself. I support the Commission of Population (POPCOM) in their call for the government to declare this a social emergency. It is also of great consequence that the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Bill I authored be discussed again at the Senate. I am willing to accept amendments to the bill so we can finally move forward.

The physical and mental health, the education, and the financial independence of these child moms and their children are gambled away. Every time a child gives birth there are more channels for the country to fall deeper into intergenerational poverty. NEDA in 2019 said we lose 24 to 42 billion pesos caused by early childbearing. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate our country, the stakes and the consequences get higher and higher. 

This is not just about the kind of lives they live, but the fact that many of them will die while giving birth. According to the Social Weather Survey, most Filipinos believe teen pregnancy is the most important problem of women today. I agree with them. Our greatest failure as a society is when we cannot guide or protect our children who are our most vulnerable. We must stay committed to giving them healthy and good lives. We truly cannot waste a moment longer.  ###