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Zamboanga City Youth Statement of Support for RH


From September 19-24, 2011, we conducted series of Adolescent Reproductive Health Fora in the different secondary and tertiary schools and other institutes of higher learning in the city. The objective of this ARH Fora was to provide correct and scientific information to our adolescents on their sexuality so pre marital sex, teenage pregnancies, teenage marriages and abortions could be avoided and young adolescents will be empowered and will acquire life skills to face greater challenges in life as they mature.

Aside from the Fora, the group, composed of  youths from the Youth Consortium, POPCOM 9, The Forum, FPOP, PLCPD and PNGOC also Adolescent Reproductive Health Counseling and Counseling Booths were put up during the Forum. Counselors from the Youth Consortium were also in town to discuss about  RH Bill 4244 on the context and level of the youth.

The youth of Zamboanga have spoken and they want their voices to be heard by our Congress representatives and our local officials hence they came out with a Statement of Support. Hereunder is the statement, published en toto:
We, the undersigned students, come from the following academic institutions: Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School, Maria Clara Lorenzo Lobregat High School, Zamboanga City High School West, Western Mindanao State University – High School, Zamboanga City High School Main, Nuevo Zamboanga College, Western Mindanao State University, Ateneo de Zamboanga University. As young people, and who are residents of this city, we express our support to the Reproductive Health Bill.

Just this year, there is increased in number of people living with HIV by 5 which made the total number of positives to 20. Most of the affected are young people who lacked knowledge and services to access.

There is also increased in the number of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). A lot of us still think that HIV is curable and can be transmitted through saliva and STDs can be cured through.

There are cases of rape and sexual violence wherein young people and children do not know their way out. Teenage pregnancies and abortions of young women are common topics. We even don’t have facilities catering the needs of youth. Even social hygiene clinic, we have none. These are utmost needs of young people. Yet, there is no concrete response coming from the government.

We recognize that some key concepts and provisions of the bill will directly address these problems. These provisions will mandate the government to respond and create programs for our rights and needs.

RH Bill recognizes, respects and promotes the right of every Filipino, including the youth, to free and informed choice.

It will provide us with an appropriate, non-discriminatory and participatory avenue to learn and understand our sexuality and rights through comprehensive age-appropriate sexuality and reproductive health education.

It will likewise promote gender equality and equity, and helps eradicate stigma and discrimination.

These are the main reasons why we are supporting this measure. We should be empowered and educated on our rights because it will teach us skills we can use for our everyday living.

We’ve been following the debates in the Congress and Senate. We will keep on monitoring the entire occurrence related to the bill. Hence, we encourage you, as our legislators, to bring the voice of the youth in Congress. We are begging you to fight for the rights and lives of young people. It is young Zamboangenos future what is at stake. PLEASE SUPPORT THE BILL.

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