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Ill-crafted proposed law

Batas Mauricio .

I AM asking Sen. Rissa Hontiveros to please clarify the concrete plants or concrete steps which she is proposing to undertake to prevent Filipino girls who are still teenagers (or who are still between the ages of 13 and 19) from becoming pregnant.

Yes, she already made a proposed legislation on the matter, which is now called Senate Bill 1888. This bill, which is denominated as “Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy Act”, nevertheless still appears greatly wanting, if I am to believe the news reports that have already been written about it. The reason is that, at this point, all that Rissa has, through her proposal, is the laying down of a national policy to prevent teenaged pregnancy.

I wish to ask: what policy are you aiming for, Rissa? And, over and above the national policy that you seek, what are the concrete steps that you think would fight premature pregnancies among our young people? Are you going to teach them how to use condoms during the sex act? Or, will you teach them how to take abortive pills? Will you also teach them how to have themselves ligated to disable them from becoming pregnant the rest of their lives?

I am sorry to say this but, this kind of a proposal, from Rissa yet, is highly unfortunate considering that it appears to be ill-crafted, or was hastily or haphazardly put together, without the benefit of a reasoned and impartial deliberation.

While, indeed, we can concede that there are now many youthful girls in the country that get pregnant even while they are still very young and literally un-weaned yet from their mothers’ breasts, the reasons why they are launched into an “infanticipating” stage rather quite early in their lives are largely unknown and literally couched in mystery, which nevertheless must be seriously looked into by Rissa and her allies pushing for their proposed legislation.

For example, does Rissa know that many of the girls who become pregnant even if they are still very young normally and usually come from poor families whose residential units are packed with people like sardines? Does Rissa know that many of these girls actually were “impregnated” by their own kin?

I learned these things because it is precisely these kinds of problems and concerns that are brought to my attention regularly, in my capacity as a lawyer who gives out free legal counseling (and, once in a while, if the party is qualified, free legal assistance) through our free legal aid group, Buklod ng mga AbogadongTagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan (Batas).

Batas receives plenty of these complaints. Yet, when family members decide to take a hand in the resolution of the victims’ pleas, the complaints usually get withdrawn and amicable settlements arrived at, because, they reason out, the warring parties are blood relatives anyway. In a situation like this, what I try to take advantage of instead is the opportunity to give advice based on the Word of God from the Bible.

Consequently, here is an unsolicited advice to Rissa: she should try to also consider the use of the Word of God in instilling values not only among the girls but also among their family members, especially the families who are in the poverty line. Rissa should endeavor to impress upon the minds of everyone the stories of believers who got blessed with good lives, because of obedience to the Word of God. I am sure our people will see what is a responsible pregnancy with the use of this technique.


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