January 23, 2010 was the first Love Forum held at Libertad National High School, Libertad, Butuan City. Fifty three students attended the event, we would love to acknowledge and thank Mr. Coro, the Principal, Mrs. Flores, the Guidance Councilor, and the Faculty of the school for their support.
The activity was started with a song practice lead by 4th year student Janelyn Contreras, assisted by April Rose Ramirez, after then an opening prayer was made. Kuya Bonie introduced the facilitating team (volunteers from San Vicente National High School) of the activity and then made a roll call of the participants. The activity was followed by a leveling of expectations. Most of the participants expect that the activity is all about relationships.
The first workshop was a group debate. The proposition was "IS IT OKEY FOR A 15 OR 16 YEAR OLD TO ENGAGE IN A BOY-GIRL RELATIONSHIP?" Eighty percent of the participants did not agree with the statement. The debate was lively and very energetic.
Here are the points of the debate:
- It is okey to have a boy-girl relationship provided it is permitted by the parents. As a teenager we should enjoy life.
- It is okey as long as you handle the relationship correctly by making a balance of your priorities.
- it is okey, it is just a matter of good handling of your self.
- It's not okey, in the stage of our life now we should focus in our studies.
- Our priority should be God, self, family, ministry, and study.
- Boy-Girl relationship has its own time, at the proper age maybe 18 year old or above.
- A teenager should set his or her future first, such as discovering his/herself, dreams in life, and priorities before engaging in boy-girl relationship.
An awareness test was followed, it is called STRESS or CRISIS TEST. Ten items of scenarios/situations was presented and the participants will choose whether it is a crisis or stress, the group incurred seven correct answers. The definition of crisis and stress was discussed after which another group work was held. The participants was divided into six groups and given the task to choose two crisis situations presented previously and then created what will be the possible scenarios from their chosen crisis situation.
The following crisis situations were presented by the groups:
- teenage pregnancy
- divorce/separation of parents
- unexpected death of a parent
- being fired from work
There awareness was broaden through the presentation of results from various studies made such as:
- The 1994 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFSS) of 11,000 young people, ages 15 to 24 years, conducted by Dr. Z. C. Zablan, professor of demography at the Population Institute of the University of the Philippines, revealed that 18 percent of Filipino youths approved premarital sex, 80 percent disapproved, and 2 percent were neutral.
- The same YAFSS survey showed that a large number of female college graduates residing in urban areas (35 percent) were exercising their liberal roles, both in their personal and professional lives with flexible sexual attitudes, while 40 percent were more likely to employ contraception.
- Data from the National Statistics Office showed that of 1.7 million babies born in 2004, almost 8 percent were born to mothers aged 15-19. Almost 30 percent of Filipino women become mothers before reaching their 21st birthday. In 2000 alone, young mothers gave birth to 818,000 babies, this means that almost 1 of every 10 babies is born to a teenage mother.
- Kiko dela Tonga, of Likhaan Foundation, cited a recent study done by the Population Institute of the University of the Philippines showing that more than four million Filipinos aged 15-19 have had sexual intercourse. He said two of every five teenage pregnancies are unwanted ones; more than 46 percent of young pregnant women resort to induced abortion.
- In Metro Manila study made by Josefina Cabigon of the University of the Philippines Population Institute, 17 percent of the 1,169 women surveyed admitted having had an abortion.
- Every year, as many as 750,000 women undergo induced abortion in illegal "clinics" all over the Philippines. Many of these women eventually die from infection, hemorrhage and other complications. Statistics compiled by the Department of Health Hospital Development Plan for 1988 to 1992 reveal that in 1986 alone abortion was third in the top 10causes of hospitalization. A large percentage of this is believed to be induced abortion.
- A Review of the Youth Situation and National Policies and Programmes: UNITED NATIONS, New York, 2000. Of the 660 individuals in the Philippines who reportedly tested positive for HIV, a total of 72, or 33 per cent, were within the age bracket of 15 to 24 years.
- Youth are particularly vulnerable to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), with 24.4 percent of female youth and 24.3 percent of male youth surveyed in 1994 found to have at least one serious reproductive health problem. Given the proportion of youth who are sexually active, they are particularly vulnerable to STDs and other reproductive health problems. Gonorrhea is the most prevalent type of STD to affect the general population.
After filling up the pledgers form, six students committed to become volunteers of Pure Love Network, they are willing to give some of their time to be actively involved in promoting the advocacy. They are, Joanne Adormeo, Sarah Jean Bongabong, Annabelle Taragua, Danilyn Consigna, Junnabel Loren, and Karen Malig-on.
What the participants said about the love forum:
- Jun Paul, "It will be a great help to the young!"
- Arjel, "I enjoyed the discussions and learned a lot."
- Jonelyn,"I like the activity, important details were clearly presented. I've learned so many things."
- Edgardo,Jr., "I've learned to appreciate to preserve my chastity until marriage."
- Gladys Joy, "It is nice and interesting, I like the topics."
- Myra Jane, "It's fun. It allows us to express ourselves to others."
- Pauline Grace, "I really appreciated the efforts of the people behind this advocacy. They visualizes how chastity and pureness is so important, especially to the teenagers."
- Josie Marie, "I've learned how to protect my dignity."
- Alberto, Jr., "I have now the vehicle to promote the virtue of chastity."
- Danilyn, "Ladies must protect themselves from lust and be modess at all time."
- Jesse Mae, "I now understand relationships, to God, friends and others. I somehow understand now the word Love."
- Annabelle, "Nice activity for the young to prevent teenage pregnancies."
- Ma. Janeth, "I enjoy the activity and I like the snacks."
- Erwin, "I am clarified on how to respect the person's dignity and integrity."
- Honey Joy, "I really enjoy the activity, I am very thankful to the facilitators. I hope next love forum more students will attend."
Photos of the activity.