Access of minors to contraceptives pushed 

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Congressmen who filed separate bills seeking to prevent teenage pregnancy on Thursday pushed access of teenagers at least 16 years old to contraceptives without parental consent. 

“If we treat them as beings who can decide [for themselves], then they can better take care of their reproductive health,” Party-list Rep. Raoul Danniel A. Manuel told a House of Representatives hearing. 

Mr. Manuel said the learning environment of adolescents extends beyond the household. 

“In this age, they spend a significant amount of time with their friends, in school, and in their communities,” he said. “Teaching young people how to be good citizens, which includes the proper practices in caring for their reproductive health, is also taught and molded outside their houses.” 

Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, also one of the authors of the teenage pregnancy bill, said sex remains a taboo topic in Philippine families. 

“Parental consent is not necessary for adolescents, particularly those who are 16 years old and above to access contraceptives because the state policy upholding the constitutional right of privacy of minors is superior to parental authority,” Mr. Lagman said. 

Undersecretary Lisa Grace S. Bersales of the Commission for Population and Development said 32% of Filipino males and 27% of females aged 15 to 19 years are sexually active, based on a 2021 survey. 

She also said 4,500 mothers aged 10 to 17 years get pregnant repeatedly, based on 2018 government data. 

“If minors at 16 can help decide the fate of this nation… then they should be given the access to contraceptives to decide on their future,” Mr. Lagman said. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz