Culaba town launches first youth centers in Biliran
By Rodrigo S. Victoria
Naval, Biliran (20 September) -- Finally, after several postponements in the opening of the two youth centers in the municipality of Culaba, an in-school and a community-based youth centers were launched yesterday to help mold an empowered and responsible youth living in a mentally, socially, morally upright and healthy community.
The youth centers in Culaba were the first to be launched in the province of Biliran among the eight municipalities. The launching of the youth center is one of the recommendations common to all the municipalities in the province of Biliran as a result of the 2006 Biliran Adolescent Sexuality and Reproductive Health Baseline Survey conducted by Josefina V. Cabigon, Ph.D. and Marieta B. Sumagaysay, Ph.D. of the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, Inc. (DRDFI), University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) and the University of the Philippines Tacloban (UPTac).
In the survey, the common problems of adolescents in the province of Biliran includes smoking with 85%, alcoholism-85%, early marriage-79%, birth spacing-77%, lack of reproductive health services-72%, lack of information about youth sexuality-71%, premarital sex-66%, fertility awareness-65%, how to use natural family planning correctly-59%,, sexual aggressiveness of males-58%, unwilling parents to discuss sex-57%, young males having multiple partners-55%, young females having multiple partners-53% and no contraceptives-52%.
Dr. Estrella P. Pedrosa, Municipal Health Officer of Culaba admitted that in 2004, her office had recorded 17% teenage pregnancy out of the total recorded pregnancy and it went higher in 2005 with 22% and went even higher in June this year with 34%.
She added that cases of abortion below 20 years old is prevalent in the municipality.
With these pressing concerns, these youth centers will provide adolescents/youth of Culaba a comprehensive programs and services for its total development and to strengthen family relations in partnership with all stakeholders.
The youth centers opened were the Rising Youth Center located in one of the classrooms of Bool National High School in Barangay Bool and the Teen Zone located in one of the rooms of the Culaba Community Hospital in Barangay Marvel in Culaba.
The launching of the two youth centers were attended by Governor Rogelio J, Espina, a national representative of the Commision on Population (PopCom), regional representatives coming from Department of Health (DOH) and PopCom, officials of the German Technical Coperation (GTZ), members of the Provincial Technical Working Group (PTWG) on Responsible Youth and Family Program in Biliran province, elected and appointive officials of LGU-Culaba headed by Mayor Enrico B. Uyvico, Vice-Mayor Epifanio M. Punay, Jr and the Sangguniang Bayan members, barangay captains, officers and members of the Association of Peer Counselors and Educators in Biliran, the teaching staff of Bool National High School and the people in the community.
Meanwhile, various kinds of support were pledged during the launching as Mayor Uyvico promised to allocate funds to sustain the operation of the youth centers.
On the part of Vice-Mayor Punay, he assured that the legislative body will pass a local legislation particularly in the allocation of fund in support to the sustainability of operation of the youth centers and other programs and activities of the youth in Culaba.
Likewise, the 17 barangay captains who attended the launching likewise expressed their willingness to give their all out support to the youth program.
The representative from PopCom Central office also promised to provide the necessary technical assistance to the centers.
The GTZ through Dr. Amador Catacutan instantly gave an inter-educate video and also promised to deliver sets of computers to be used in the operation of the two youth centers.
GTZ provides most of the financial and logistical support to the different programs, projects and activities undertaken relative to the reproductive health of the adolescent youth and likewise gives support to the other social programs and services implemented in the province of Biliran.
For his part, Governor Espina in his message during the launching program said that the province has already issued an executive order outlining the organization and operation of the Responsible Youth and Family Program (RYFP) in the province of Biliran that will create policies and oversee in the implementation of various programs, projects and activities geared towards the betterment of the adolescent youths in the province.
He said that his administration will give an all-out support to the program of the youth especially with the present startling status of the youth in Biliran province.
"Let us prevent rather than cure the very critical situation of the youth in Biliran province and let us give our help and support since the youth is the future of the country," Gov. Espina said.
On the other hand, Flordeliza Trani, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer in the province of Biliran and at the same time the point person of the RYFP congratulated the officials and the youth leaders of Culaba for the launching of the first ever youth center in the province of Biliran.
She said that the launching of the centers will help transform the present conditions of the youth in Culaba.
Trani added that the centers will also in one way or the other help in reducing the high incidence of premarital sex that often resulted to teenage pregnacy among the adolescent youth and abortion as well.
She hopes that the centers will produce more responsible youth so they will become responsible leaders also in the future..
However, Trani stressed that the sustainability of the operation of the youth centers greatly depends on the support of the LGU and the people in the community. (PIA-Biliran) [top]