By Imelda R. Castro, PIA 1, Ilocos Sur
VIGAN CITY– Talks on teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, illegal drugs, violence against women and children, and the Rights and Responsibilities of Every Filipino Child, were shared to some 380 students of Metro Vigan during the ASEAN Youth Forum held at the Ilocos Sur National High School in this city recently.
The forum was conducted by the Ilocos Sur Information Center of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) on November 15.
“Whatever your problems are, what’s bothering you, please feel free to share with your teachers, your families, your friends, to me and the city government officials and employees. We are ready, always here, to help you,” Mayor Juan Carlo S. Medina said to the students, giving emphasis to the issues puzzling the adolescents like teen pregnancy.
Medina, a father himself, spoke to the students like his own children, very much concerned about what the kids may be experiencing in their own homes, school and neighborhood.
He narrated the youth programs of the city govern-ment which are tuned to care, nurture, and cherish the city’s youth. These include the scholarship program, the Simulation and Therapeutic4Activity Center, various trainings for the youth including those out of school funded by the yearly walk-for-a-cause, and various programs for the residents that help to strengthen families.
With a past case of a student at the school who was violated at home and killed herself, Dr. Romulo Quitevis, ISNHS principal, was thankful of the youth forum to help students understand illegal acts and learn how to seek help when abused at home or outside.
The event was a timely reminder of the National Children’s Month celebration this year with the theme, “Bata, Iligtas sa Droga” (Children: Save from Drugs), said Crystal Vismanus, police inspector of Vigan Police Office, who discussed drug abuse and gambling prevention among the youth.
“Never indulge in sexual intercourse,” Elizabeth Retuta, provincial HIV-AIDS program coordinator, warned the students. “This is only for married people. And you may be infected with this disease without cure because you may never know if your partner has the disease.”
The youngest recorded HIV-AIDS positive case is 14 years old, she added. The disease transmitted through the sexual act, can affect anybody, young and old.
“Teenage pregnancy can ruin a child’s life,” said Olivia Marie Ibatuan, provincial adolescent health program coordinator, throwing challenges to the students that they must be careful enough to avoid teen sex.
Meanwhile, the programs and services of the PIA and a briefer on ASEAN were discussed by Jennilyne C. Role, director of PIA Region 1.#