Senator Risa Hontiveros has sponsored the Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy Bill and the Gender Responsive and Inclusive Emergency Management Bill, in celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD).
“This IWD, we both acknowledge how far women have come and far we have yet to go. I am able to champion these bills today because of the women who have cleared the way so we can enjoy the opportunities we do,” he said.
In her sponsorship speech, the senator once again stressed the worrying trend of very young girls, ages 10-14, getting pregnant. In 2020, there were 2,113 cases of pregnancies in this age group and this number increased to 2,299 in 2021.
“The bill seeks to address the issue of adolescent pregnancy through various methods, such as the faithful implementation of comprehensive sexuality education, as well as the delivery of necessary sexual and reproductive information and services to young Filipinos when they need it, when they ask for it, and when they seek it,” Hontiveros said.
Under the proposed bill, young parents are eligible to receive services from their LGUs, like maternal health care services, post-natal family planning, parenting workshops, and psycho-social support, among others. In addition, the bill also seeks to strengthen the referral pathways in cases of sexual violence against adolescents by instituting mandated reportorial requirements when there are observed and identified signs of abuse.
To address the gender-differentiated needs of women and girls, Hontiveros also emphasized the call to pass the Gender Responsive and Inclusive Emergency Management Bill, as women continue to be disproportionately affected in times of emergencies.
“This bill arises at a critical time as we begin to see the end of Covid-19 policies in our country. Despite our country’s significant strides in closing the gender equality gap, the pandemic has brought to light the gendered issues that women and girls continue to face,” Hontiveros said during her sponsorship speech.
The measure aims to develop programs and structures that can
strengthen support for women in times of national emergencies or disasters. This includes involving women in the planning of our national strategies, bolstering gender-based preparedness and response systems to ensure that gender-based violence services remain accessible and unimpeded, and guaranteeing the availability of sexual and reproductive health goods and services, among others.
“These bills are a recognition of the work that we still have to do to improve the lives of the most vulnerable women and girls.