The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC), the committee tasked to monitor Philippine compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in its 2022 Concluding Observations during the 91st Session, considered the issues that we raised in our joint NGO submissions and other interventions and urged the Philippine Government to, among others, ensure adolescents’ access to modern contraception, confidential testing and HIV treatment without parental consent, ensure Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in schools, address sexual violence, and the review of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act. For the first time, the UN CRC urges the Philippine Government to legalise abortion and ensure access to abortion and post-abortion care services for adolescent girls. We commend the UN CRC for issuing strong and robust recommendations to advance adolescent health in the country and reiterating the Philippine Government’s human rights obligations to ensure the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of children particularly adolescents.
In August 2022, twelve (12) child rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights organisations submitted an NGO alternative report on the status of adolescents’ reproductive rights. In the alternative report, we requested the Committee to issue similar recommendations on adolescent health to the Philippine Government. Following the review, the UN CRC adopted the present concluding observations and recommendations to the Philippine Government on the area of Adolescent Health as follows:
- Adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescents and ensure sexual and reproductive health education at school, with special attention to preventing early pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS and on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Ensure that adolescents have access to modern contraception, and confidential testing and HIV treatment without parental consent and review the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act No. 10354 of 2012 accordingly.
- Legalise abortion and ensure access to safe abortion and post-abortion care services for adolescent girls, making sure that their views are always heard and given due consideration as a part of the decision-making process, and develop and implement a policy to protect the rights of pregnant teenagers.
As a signatory to international human rights treaties including the UN CRC, the Philippine Government committed to ensure the fulfilment of sexual and reproductive health and rights of all especially of adolescents.
The UN CRC Concluding Observation is a major win for adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health and rights in the country. Our solidarity and commitment to SRHR and children’s rights made all these possible. As SRHR, women’s rights and child rights advocates, we will continue to hold the government accountable to its commitments and monitor its implementation of the UN CRC recommendations and other human rights obligations.
- Center for Reproductive Rights
- EnGendeRights, Inc.
- Family Planning Organization of the Philippines
- Filipino Freethinkers
- ILAW Shared Community, Inc.
- Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network
- Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns
- Society of Trans Women of the Philippines
- The Graciella Collective
- Transman Equality and Awareness Movement
- WomanHealth Philippines
- Women’s Clinic Pilipinas
- Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights
- Young Advocates for SRHR
- Youth for YOUth Organization