Photo by Jen Villafuerte-Tombaga.

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday talked about the “child bride” situation in the province of Palawan, and lobbied for the enactment of her authored “Girls Not Brides Act”.

The national legislator took it to Facebook, using the young Pala’wan mothers, to express her sentiments against the alleged proliferating “child bride”.

This is a photo of three young girls and two baby boys from a community in Palawan. If you think the baby boys in the care of the two girls are their siblings, I am sad to say that you are mistaken. They are their children,” she said.

Hontiveros also claimed that some girls aged 9, 12, and 13, who were already mothers to some children, were a grim representation of some communities in the country.

“All three of these girls, ages 13, 12, and 9 are child brides. Nakakalungkot. Just by looking at them, one immediately realizes that child marriage has to stop,” she added.

Roots of Health (Ugat ng Kalusugan), chaired by executive director Amina Evangelista-Swanepoel, recently launched a youth clinic in Puerto Princesa to advance the discussions on sexuality particularly in protecting young people to protect themselves in such sexually transmitted disease (STD), teenage pregnancy and other problems.

“I think medyo in denial [ang community when it comes to sex] lalo na ang older generation kasi mayron silang ideas kung ano ang dapat gawin. Actually ang culture natin ay conservative in theory, I think, kasi in practice makikita mo naman. Kung conservative talaga tayo as we say then dapat walang teenage pregnancy, walang corruption and anything. Obviously, when we look in the reality ang sinasabi ng tao ay not same sa sinasabi nila. Dapat pag-usapan sya ng tama,” Swanepoel said.

She also said that people do not want to talk about it but it happens in reality, and safe sexual activity should be discussed in community, in school and in family.