By John Oliver L. Corciega, Project Assistant, Foundation for Adolescent Development, Inc.
Teen issues involving early sexual engagement and the negative influences of social media. These and other issues were once again brought to the forefront of discussion at the Philippine Christian University (PCU), Manila. PCU hosted last January 23 a half-day symposium on “Teen Pregnancy and the Youth” and “Social Networking and the Youth”. PCU is the fifth and final university to partner with the Foundation for Adolescent Development, Inc. (FAD) for the project “Dare to Ask: School Symposium on Teen Issues on Health, Sexuality, Population and Development”.
Photo 1. “Ang sexuality ay isa sa mga pinakaiwas-iwasang topic ni Itay at Inay. But the truth is, human sexuality is one of the greatest gifts from God, apart from freedom and free will,” says Rev. Samuel Briones, PCU Student Services Director, in his Welcome Remarks.
Photo 2. “TV has a powerful influence on adolescents’ sexual attitudes, values, and beliefs. And this may just be one of the many factors that contributes to the unabated rise of teenage pregnancy in the country,” states Teen Pregnancy and the Youth speaker Dr. Emma Llanto as she shows a sample of what the young ones usually see on the big and small screens. Dr. Llanto is the President of Society of Adolescent Medicine of the Philippines and a pioneer of UP-PGH’s Teen Mom Program.
Photo 3. “Bakit mataas ang chance na mamatay ang mga young mothers,” asks a PCU student. Dr. Llanto, in response, points out that the body of an adolescent girl is not yet fully developed and ready for childbearing. For this reason, teen pregnancies are always considered high-risk pregnancies.
Photo 4. Over three hundred PCU students, mostly from NSTP classes, listen attentively to the presentations.
Photo 5. Social Networking and the Youth speaker Ms. Ana Santos cautions young people about the realities of cyberbullying, cyberstalking and e-VAW (violence against women). She offers, “Make social media work for you. Arm yourself with information and spread the word.” Ms. Santos is the Founder and Editorial Director of sexual and reproductive health info site SexandSensibilities.com.
Photo 6. Ms. Santos gives out freebies to students who share their answers and thoughts on pop questions varying from “What do you usually post on Facebook?” to “Do condoms have an expiration date?”
Photo 7. Towards the end of the program, students fill up a feedback sheet and give their insights after attending the symposium. Among their learnings were: “Sex is not the right thing to do to prove your love.” and “Be careful with what you post online. One wrong post can destroy you and haunt you for a lifetime.”
Photo 8. The speakers and the Dare to Ask team from FAD and PCU share one final photo after the event. From FAD are Executive Director Ms. Cecilia Villa, Moderator and Youth Adviser John Carlo de Galicia and Project Assistant John Oliver Corciega. PCU, on the other hand, is represented by NSTP Coordinators Mr. Jonah Domingo and Ms. Winnie Monedo and their student-volunteers.
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