Alarmed by the rising cases of teenage pregnancy that have reached the point of becoming a national emergency, the city government here through its City Population and Nutrition Office (CPNO) is seeing to it that its campaign against the social malady would yield positive results.
Teresita del Castillo CPNO head, in an interview on Wednesday said through the city government’s “Hearts & Minds” program and the “U4U” approach, they are hoping to reduce the number of teenagers going astray.
Records of the City Civil Registry Office showed that there are 161 cases of teenage pregnancy in the city from January to June this year.
A survey by the CPNO bared that cases of adolescent pregnancy can be traced to poverty, broken family, sexual abuse, influences of pornographic materials, and peer pressure.
“Hearts & Minds” is an advocacy program that seeks to develop among the youth the importance of family, responsible adulthood and healthy attitudes toward sex and gender relations.
By making them aware of the consequences of sexual behavior and the disadvantages of early marriage and unplanned pregnancies, the project enables the youth to decide wisely on their reproductive options.
The program aims to improve and promote the total well-being and self-esteem of young people and reduce the incidence of reproductive health problems, including pre-marital sex, teenage pregnancies, abortion, early marriage, STD, HIV/AIDS among the youth.
“Hearts and Minds” seminars were successfully held in the different barangays of Naga in coordination with the respective barangay councils and Sangguniang Kabataan.
On the other hand, the U4U (You-for-You) is a teen health resource portal and youth hub initiative of the Commission on Population, supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in partnership with the Department of Health.
It features a teen caravan that brings the Commission on Population’s (PopCom) adolescent health and youth development programs to schools and communities to deliver critical information to Filipino teens.
These information aims to prepare them for life skills on sexuality, sound decision making about friendships, relationships, education and families and ability to manage stress, among others.
It also has an interactive and dynamic website (http://u4u.ph) and mobile platforms.
Meanwhile, the city government established the Naga City Teen Center inside the NCPO, Mayor Nelson Legacion said.
The center is manned by youth volunteers from various barangays and schools in the city.
A peer counselors’ training by the CPNO in coordination with PopCom prepares the youth volunteers for their roles and responsibilities in running the center.
The center provides direct interventions toward the prevention of risky sexual and non-sexual behavior among young people; and opportunities for dialogue and interaction among young people.
It also gives counseling and life skills development opportunities for the young people and a venue where young people can hang out and play games, listen to music, watch movies, or simply talk with each other. (PNA)