NorMin stakeholders ink pact for integrated adolescent health, youth dev't drive
by Jobelle Llenas and Dante Coloma
Cagayan de Oro City (29 February) -- Sex Education must be age- and integrity-appropriate.
This was stressed by noted clinical psychologist Margie Go-Singco Holmes, who was recently in town to speak to key local officials, national agency officials and NGO representatives as well as representatives from the religious and academic sectors.
Hosted by the Regional Committee on Adolescent Health and Youth Development (AHYD) Program, the symposium was one of the activities during the Cagayan de Oro Youth Summit 2008. Its focus was to try to address a common concern among stakeholders who have considered implementing sex education in the community, which was "Does Sex Education promote Premarital Sex and Promiscuity?"
As background, Director Psyche Padla-Paler of the Commission on Population (Popcom-10) highlighted several findings of the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Studies (YAFSS) conducted in 2002. The study showed an increasing incidence of premarital sex and pregnancy among adolescents in the country, including Region 10.
Paler noted that the findings of the YAFSS were validated by the Youth Reproductive Manifesto "Y Tama Ka" of the National Youth Consultative Workshop on Reproductive Health conducted on May 4, 2006, which identifies the following prevalent issues surrounding the young: abortion, early sex, teenage pregnancy, child prostitution, child trafficking, pornography, sexual exploitation, substance abuse, violence against women and children, sexually transmitted infections and HIV-AIDS.
Dr. Holmes drew upon studies done in the United States as well as her own experiences in the field to establish that Sex Education does not promote premarital sex and promiscuity.
She likewise gave salient points for stakeholders to consider in crafting a sex education program that would be age- and integrity-appropriate, be youth-friendly and youth-sensitive, as well as being holistic in its approach and that would synergize the reproductive health and other services given to the region's youth. Holmes likewise recommended that regular discussions be held among stakeholders to be able to work out issues that could arise.
The participants later signed a Memorandum of Understanding that outlined a unified approach to strengthen AHYD through better coordination, pooling of resources and capability building among its member organizations.
Among the stakeholders was Congressman Rufus Rodriguez of the 2nd District of Cagayan de Oro, who lauded the pact as a welcome development in the community's move to serve the youth in the region.
For his part, Elias Revelo of the Misamis Occidental chapter of the Philippine Councilor's League (PCL) vowed to champion the initiative in their province.
Other participants included Dr. Dante Pajo, representing the Cagayan de Oro local government; Mayor Dixon Yasay of Opol, representing the League of Municipalities in the Philippines (LMP); Director Casimira Balandra of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-10), heads of the Sangguiniang Kabataan federations in Bukidnon, Camiguin and Misamis Oriental; government agencies such as DOH, POPCOM, NYC, PhilHealth, DILG, DepEd, CHED, DSWD, TESDA, as well as representatives from the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro City, the academe, and non-governmental agencies (NGOs). (PIA-10) [top]