Nathan is nurse, an epidemiology student, a health advocate and a geek.
“Youth are always speaking out, yet people don’t listen. It’s our day today. We hope you all hear us out.”
In commemoration of International Youth Dayon August 12, 2011, young people from the labor sector held a march in support of the RH Bill. The march started at 9am at St. Peter Parish,and proceeded to the House of Representatives.
The group was alarmed with the increasing number of teenage pregnancies, drug use, physical and emotional abuse, and HIV/AIDS cases among Filipino youth. These pressing issues contribute considerably to the increasing number of dropouts in school, and to issues in the workplace. The march participants called for the integration of mandatory Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in school curricula and Alternative Learning System (ALS), which will educate the youth on life skills, and sexuality in the broader frame of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Accurate, unbiased and age-appropriate information on gender, sexuality, health, interpersonal relationships, communication, and decision-making skills will facilitate empowerment the youth, making them more responsible citizens that contribute to nation-building.
The youth mourn for our mothers: 11 die everyday in the Philippines due to pregnancy-related complications. We cannot understand nor can we accept why our mothers are being sacrificed when deaths can be easily prevented by access is granted to family planning methods and the health system is responsive to maternal health needs. The mortality of mothers without aid leads to more complex problems, as the children and the husbands they leave behind have to survive without them.
Aside from the march for the RH Bill, the youth group also proceeded to the Occupational Safety and Health Office and conducted a caravan to scream for safety and health in the workplace. They spoke out particularly with regard to the Hanjin Shipyard, which has very serious issues in its workplace.
The lack of a safe environment in Hanjin, which has claimed a 32nd victim, is evidence of management’s negligence to comply with occupational health and safety standards. On July 20, 2011, a worker fell into an open manhole, and his head hit the pavement when a forklift accidentally hit the manhole cover. This accident resulted in his immediate death. If proper a warning signs had only been installed in the area, the forklift operator could have easily seen the manhole cover, and the accident could have been avoided.
Young Filipinos strongly believe that this is the time to collaboratively act and bring to the doorsteps of the government our demand to pass the RH bill and implement Comprehensive Sexual Education. It is time for the youth to be heard!
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