House OKs bill for teens’ access to contraceptives sans parental consent; Bicolanos react

LEGAZPI CITY – The House Bill No. 79 or the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Act approved by the House Committee on Youth and Sports Development that features the freedom of teenagers to use modern contraceptives without parental consent has drawn various opinions from Bicolanos. 

Edcel Lagman, Albay House Representative and the author of the bill, mentioned in his Facebook post that young people have the right to lead their own lives in which one of these rights is giving freedom to teenagers to access modern contraceptives.

“Young people have the right to lead healthy lives and the means to protect their health and safeguard their future. This includes access to reproductive health information, services, and commodities,” Lagman stated. 

𝐂𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐜 𝐂𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐬

Fr. Eric Martillano, Executive Director of the Social Action Center in Albay, said the Catholic church does not favor the thought of giving access to teenagers in acquiring modern contraceptives whether they have their parent’s consent or not. 

“Ang contraceptives kaya is artificial bako siyang natural, so anuman bakong natural, sa paghiling kan simbahan bako magayon para sa sato, huli ta pag sinabing artificial bako ‘iya gibo kan diyos gibo an kan tao,” Fr. Martillano said.

(Contraceptives are artificial and not natural. In the perception of the church, whatever things that are not natural are not good for the people. When we say artificial it is not a work of God but a work of humans)

“Pag itinugot kaya kan simbahan an paggamit ng contraceptives, the church would be giving wrong signals sa tao na okay lang if hindi responsable [relationship],” he added.

(So, when the church approves the use of contraceptives, the church would be giving wrong signals to the people.)

However, he firmly clarified that they do not oppose family planning but it must be done naturally and responsibly. 

“Ngata ma-against an simbahan sa family planning? sa ngaran palang pagpla-plano kan pamilya is something positive na. Again, the church is not against that idea because they’re limiting the size of the family, considering the fact that there are like, some families are not financially capable,” Fr. Martillano added.

(Why should the church oppose family planning? From the name itself, it is something positive. Again, the church is not against that idea because they’re limiting the size of the family, considering the fact that there are like, some families are not financially capable.)

𝐂𝐇𝐎 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬

Meanwhile, Amylene Santillan, Population Program Officer II-OIC Population Division of the City Health Office of Legazpi, said that once the bill becomes a law, they need to enforce it. 

“Susundin natin kasi it’s already a law pero bako pa ngunyan. Kumbaga it’s not yet signed into law de dae ta paman pwede gibuhon,” she said. 

(We will enforce it once it becomes a law, but it has not been signed into a law yet for now.)

Santillan added she is in favor of the bill because of the growing cases of teenage pregnancy and they are prevented from giving contraceptives to teenagers except to teenage mothers. t

“Pero as a rule dae kami nagtatao na warang consent from parents unless teenage mother na siya,” she stated. 

(But as a rule, we do not give contraceptives without consent from parents unless the person is already a teenage mother)

𝐒𝐭𝐮𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬, 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬

Dwight Paño, a parent, explained why he favors giving modern contraceptives to teens even without parental consent.

“As a praktikal, pabor ako ‘yan kasi dae man mapugulan ‘yan. Desiyon pa din ito ng anak”, Dwight stated

(As a practical (parent), I agree for the teenagers to have have access to contraceptives, you cannot control it. Still it’s the child’s own decision to use the contraceptives.)

Meanwhile, Ruth Kimberly Pacia and Vener Nocedo who are both college students expressed contradictory statements about the said bill. 

Pacia said that she is in favor of giving access to teenagers to acquire contraceptives but with parent’s consent. 

“Kaipuhan talaga na aram kang parents kasi minor pa sinda, kapot pa sinda kang mga magurang ninda. Saka mas maray na na aram kang parents,” she said. 

(The parents must know because the child is still a minor, they’re still a responsibility of their parents. Also, it’s good that the parents are aware of it.)

However, Nocedo said that even without parents’ consent, he is in favor of the bill. 

“Bago mag pamilya siguro kailangan muna mag family planning. Ah kaya kinakailangan ‘yung mga contraceptives. Okay naman din kasi para maiwasan ‘yung pagbubuntis nang maaga,” Nocedo stated.

(There is a need for family planning before starting a family. So contraceptives are needed. It’s okay for me even without parents’ consent to prevent early teenage pregnancy.) I Aimee Mae Gizelle Sesno and Jemimah So