Around 300 students from Bartolome and Manuela Pañares Memorial National High School (BMPMNHS) in Barili participated in the You-for-You (U4U) Teen Trail Initiative last February 3 at the Barili Sports and Cultural Center.
The (U4U) Teen Trail Initiative is an educational caravan to increase the knowledge of Filipino youth, aged 10-19, on how to delay sexual debut, prevent teen pregnancy and avoid sexually transmitted infections.
The Commission on Population (POPCOM), in partnership with the Cebu Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), launched the Youth Caravan in BMPMNHS. It will also be implemented in the different high schools of the province in the coming weeks.
The program was funded by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the PSWDO Cebu Province.
PopCom Cebu Province Focal Person Ma. Luzely Rufo said Governor Hilario P. Davide III really supported the (U4U) program as well as other initatives for the youth including those for the students’ welfare. “The Cebu Provincial Government and Governor Hilario P. Davide III nisuporta jud ani nga programa especially ninyo mga estudyante “ Rufo said.
According to Rufo the program helps the students make healthy decisions. “Nowadays, Filipino teenagers live in a less conservative society and students engaging in pre-marital sex are not concerned of their future,” Rufo added.
Hannah Shayne Aguilar, a 17-year-old Grade 10 student from BMPMNHS said a lot of high school students engaged in relationships which resulted to teenage pregnancies. “Teenage pregnancy is very common in today’s era, dapat makahibaw sila kung unsay angay buhaton para malikayan. Sa amo school daghan ug drop-outs, mohunong lang ug eskwela kay mabdos na diay,” she said.
Aguilar is grateful for the U4U program for it would help the students be educated. “Nindot ni siya nga program ang gihimo sa PopCom. It makes the students aware of what are the issues on this society. I hope nga ilang e-apply ang ilang nakat-unan diri dili lang kutob sa pagpaminaw, “ Aguilar said.
Meanwhile, Barili Mayor Teresito Mariñas said their concern for the youth is not limited to the use of illegal drugs but also on teenage pregnancy. “Nalipay gyud ko nga naa pod ingun ani nga nahitabo sa Barili. We are also concerned parti sa kabataan, dili lang sa drugs but also kining teenage pregnancy. Mahibaw-an man nato through sa birthing center records nga naay 17 years old pa. It’s really a sad news sa atong mga kabataan,” he said.
Mariñas, who is also a medical practitioner, added that the youth need special attention and sexual and reproductive health information. “We have to do something. We have to educate our students. While there is peer pressure, they should know how to handle it, to say no or just avoid it. Kining mosulod ug relasyon will lead to temptation due to curiosity. Makahimo jud so makaundang jud sa ilang pagtuon,” Mariñas added.
The U4U Teen Trail Initiative aims to prepare the youth for life skills on sexuality such as critical thinking, sound decision making, and ability to manage stress.
The teen trail is also an educational and entertaining teen caravan with an interactive exhibit, fun workshops, songs and dances that will be set up in schools and communities.