The Youth Have Spoken on the Issue of the Reproductive Health Law

[Updated 07 Apr 11:59 P.M. GMT+8] Various Youth Organizations from different parts of the country have join forces to show their support to RH Law. In April 8, the Supreme Court will decide on the fate of the RH Law. The different youth groups believe that upholding the RH Law will make a difference to the lives of the youth.
The different youth groups are concerned with the growing epidemic of teenage pregnancy and HIV and AIDS. Latest statistics show almost 600 teenage girls get pregnant everyday and 1 in every 4 cases of HIV is among the youth and adolescent population. Reigner Jireh Antiquera, President of the Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders and Advocates said “Teenage pregnancy results to dropping from schools and forcing our adolescents to parenthood roles even though they are physically and mentally unprepared.”
“Natatakot kami na unti-unti itong nagiging normal sa aming kabataan. Ayaw ko naman na gumising isang araw na parang hindi na isyu ang maagang pagbubuntis at ang HIV,” sentiments of Erika Isabel Yague, Former Vice President of SK Federation of Las Pinas City.
The statement claimed that the decades of delay in the passage and implementation of the RH Law resulted to the failure to respond to the changing needs of the youth. The numbers presented could have been reduced if we only have the RH Law long time ago.
“That’s why the different groups are acting now. It’s a show of force of our young ones. This is to remind the Justices that the RH Law is a personal issue among the youth and they can make a difference if they vote in favor of the Law. We need to uphold the RH Law. We owe it to the youth,” according to Percival Cedana of the National Youth Commission.
“This can be an important legacy of the Supreme Court Justices to the youth. Even though they will not be in the position, at least they will have remembered that there was a time that they protected our rights and welfare,” added by Katrina Ruth Verzola, Presdent of Development Communication Society – Benguet State University.
The statement is agreed upon by the different youth organizations from Benguet to Zamboanga City. It is the collective call of the youth to the Supreme Court .#
For further information, please contact Mr. Jonathan Monis, 09055572944 or email him at youthconsortiumph@gmail.com.
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DECLARATION OF SUPPORT OF YOUNG PEOPLE FOR THE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10354 OR THE RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH ACT OF 2012

In April 8, 2014, the Supreme Court Justices will convene to decide on the fate of the Republic Act No. 10354: The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act (popularly known as the RH Law). As young Filipinos, we the members and leaders of different youth organization, strongly support and uphold the affirmation of the constitutionality of the RH Law.
The RH Law painstakingly confronted 14 years of legislative battles to reach a democratic decision in its behalf. The years of struggle to uphold the rights of every individual caused delay to save mothers lives, ensuring quality of life of every Filipino family and giving a better future for everyone. The passage of the RH Bill is just an end of a tiresome chapter as another one began when the Supreme Court received petitions questioning the constitutionality of the RH Law and had passed a status quo ante order. The arguments against the RH Law only echoed what has been answered and refuted in the Congress. This shows the lack of respect of the petitioners to the results of the democratic deliberations in the country. Prolonging the implementation of RH Law as well counterfeits the repeatedly statement of the society including the church that the society shall take care of the youth for a better future.

Growing concerns
The Fourth Youth and Adolescent Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFS 4) showed that the number of teenage pregnancy increased exorbitantly from 6.3% in 2002 to 13.6% 2013 among girls age 15-19 years old. This means 600 of teen girls are becoming pregnant every day. The proportion is much higher among girls 19 years of age with 1 in 3 has already begun child bearing. Imagine a typical high school class room with at least 40 students, expect 5 to 6 girls would become pregnant. Translating this to the Philippine populace would mean thousands of girls leaving the schools to proceed with their pregnancy or take care of their babies. This would also entail forcing themselves to mature to take on motherhood roles and snatch to them their dreams.
Another concern is the alarming increment in the cases of HIV and AIDS. With one in every 4 reported cases are ages 24 and below (Department of Health, February 2014), we are afraid that the numbers are just the tip of the iceberg as the reported cases continue to widen apart from the estimates. This would remain if we will not empower our young ones to protect themselves and become responsible with their decisions about their body.
These are the realities the young people have to endure. The plight and welfare of the youth are our personal endeavor and advocacy because each of us relate to this in one way or another. Behind the numbers and the statistics are stories of our peers who are disappointed for leaving the school, tears of our friends who were left by his partner upon finding out her pregnancy or even us who have faced and learned from terrible experiences. These are lives of real people and that include us.

Youth-responsive provisions
“The State shall provide age- and development-appropriate reproductive health education to adolescents which shall be taught by adequately trained teachers informal and nonformal educational system and integrated in relevant subjects such as, but not limited to, values formation; knowledge and skills in self-protection against discrimination; sexual abuse and violence against women and children and other forms of gender based violence and teen pregnancy; physical, social and emotional changes in adolescents; women’s rights and children’s rights; responsible teenage behavior; gender and development; and responsible parenthood.” Whereas in the section of elements of the reproductive health care, adolescents and youth reproductive health guidance and counselling are recognized as fundamental elements. 


There is ample of evidence backing the effectiveness of reproductive and sexuality education. The systematic review of Kirby et al. (2006) of the 22 experimental sexuality education intervention evaluation in developing countries showed that majority of the interventions significantly delayed sex, reduced the frequency of the sex, decreased the number of sexual partners and reduced the incidence of unprotected sex. This evidence is further strengthened when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released The International Technical Guidelines on Sexuality Education which evaluated 87 programs on the effect of sexuality education on the sexual behavior of the youth. The review showed sexuality education is “an age-appropriate, culturally relevant approach to teaching about sex and relationships by providing scientifically accurate, realistic, non-judgmental information. It aims to provide opportunities for young people to explore their own values and attitudes, and to build decision making, communication, and risk-reduction skills about various aspects of sexuality.” 


Collective call to uphold the RH Law
The absence of a comprehensive policy on sexual and reproductive health has taken its toll on the welfare of the young people. Decades of delay resulted to the failure to respond to the changing needs of the youth. If these interventions have been put in place, we have had significantly reduced this upsetting numbers.
We will no longer accept further delay because we believe that this policy has long been overdue. Hence, we are appealing to our Supreme Court Justices to uphold the RH Law. If the Justices believe in the great potentials of the young people, then they should take part in developing solutions. And that solution would begin if they protect our rights to sexual and reproductive health!
In the end, we believe that the Supreme Court Justices will consider the welfare of the young people – that they will think about our issues when they vote upon the RH Law.
List of organizations:
Akbayan Youth
Aklan Butterfly Brigade
Aklan Technical Working Group for the Youth Affairs
Alliance of Young Health Advocates
Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders and Advocates Inc.
Antipolo Youth Leaders’ Club
Association of Women Workers in the Construction Industry (AWWCI)
BAHAGHARI San Pablo, Inc.
Batang Hamog Mountaineers, Inc.
Batang Laging Umiiwas sa Tiyak na Impeksyon
Black and White Movement-Youth
Brotherhood of Destiny Inc. UP Tacloban Chapter
Brotherhood of Destiny, Inc. (BROOD)
Bukluran UP System
Capampangan Advocates Positively Uited Towards Optimistic Leadership
Catholic for Reproductive Health – Kaagapay Volunteer
Cebu City Federation of Supreme Student Councils
CPU Reform Party Organization (Iloilo City)
Development Communication Society – Benguet State University
Family Planning Organization of the Philippines – Youth
First Time Voters’ Network
Gayon Bicol Albay LGBT
Health and Youth Policy Empowerment Corps
Health Management and Research Group / Men’s Responsibility Gender and Development (MRGAD)
Humanist Alliance Philippines, International
Ifugao Youth Confederation, Inc.
International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
International Youth Council Pilipinas 
Junior’s Responsibility in Gender and Development
Kabataang Liberal Youth
Kabataang Liberal Youth Caloocan Dist.1
KADIWA Cebu South District
Kalipunan ng Sektor ng mga Kabataan sa Caloocan (KASECA)
Kaugmaon Center for Children’s Concern Foundation, Inc.
League of Extra-Ordinary Gays (LXG)
Legal Advocates for Workers’ Interest (LAWIN)
Malanday Youth Alliance
Mindanao Youth Leaders Parliament
National Anti-Poverty Commission Youth and Students Sectoral Council
National Council for Children and Young People on HIV
National Union of Building and Construction Workers (NUBCW)
National Youth Commission
Partido sang Mainuswagon nga Bumulutho (UPV-Miag-ao)
Peer Ed Me PAMACQ
Peoples Alternative Study Center for Research and Education in Social Development (PASCRES)
Philippine Health Bloggers Society
Philippine Society of Sexual & Reproductive Health Nursing
Philippine Stuttering Association
Philippine Youth Leaders Alliance
Provincial ARH Council, Aklan Province
Quezon City High School Peer Councilors Club
Quezon City Youth Confederation
Reproductive Health Advocacy Network – Youth
Reproductive Health and Gender Advocates
Rural Voices of Youth
Samahan sa Ikauunlad ng KAbataang Pilipino- SIKAP
SK Reform Coalition
Social Initiatives and Knowledge through Leadership Action to Build changes- (SIKLAB- Inc.)
SPAC Peer Counselors Society
Stigma Project
Student Council Alliance of the Philippines
Students’ Rights and Welfare Coalition
Sustained Health Initiatives of the Philippines Foundation, Inc. 
Tawi -Tawi Young Muslim Leader Professionals Inc. (TYMLP)
Team Doulos Leader’s Organization (Kabankalan City)
The Red Whistle Campaign
Triskelion Council of North Caloocan
Union of Progressive Students (UP Cebu)
United Community of Modern Patriots
University of the Philippines Good Governance Initiative
Voice of the Youth (VOTY) Network
Waray – Waray Youth Advocates, inc. (WARAYA)
Young Pinoy Peer Educators on Reproductive Health Organization (YPedROH)
Youth Against Debt Eastern Visayas
Youth Aids Filipinas Alliance
Youth Consortium for Reproductive Health
Youth for Peace Philippines
Youth for Reproductive Health Awareness (YouRHealth) – Cagayan de Oro
Youth Peer Education Network – Pilipinas
Youth Radio Network Philippines
Youth Voices Count Philippines
YouthLead Philippines

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