Inquirer Headlines: Nation

A World with Extreme Poverty is a World of Insecurity.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Vagina Monologues in Filipino

The Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare, Inc.
(PNGOC), in partnership with the Alliance for Choice and
Empowerment (AforCE) and The New Voice Company



(The Vagina Monologues in Filipino)

Cast :

Ms. Gina Alajar
Ms. Pinky Amador
Ms. Missy Maramara

Play Date : March 6, 2007

Venue :

Hall B, Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC)
CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard,
Pasay City

Time : 6:00 PM

Ticket Price : Php 350.00

The proceeds of the play will be donated to various NGOs who have a number of women beneficiaries in need of medical, legal and financial support.

For ticket reservations and inquiries, please reply to this email or contact PNGOC at 834-1898; 833-4067; and look for Paolo Fernando, Russel Solitario or Chi Laigo Vallido.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

DepEd takes a stand on ARH...

Signature Campaign: Yes to Sexuality Education!

"Sex Education is better left to the parents. Sex education is the sole right and responsibility of the parents and no excuse or alibi can justify the public teaching of sex by strangers." These are just some of the views expressed by the hierarchy of the religious and some pro-life groups on the ARH programs and projects of Dep Ed . They further claim that teaching students about reproductive health will make the youth sexually adventurous especially if they are taught about condoms and other forms of contraception thus prmoting safe sex. Others have suggested to teach Moral Values intensively instead of sex education. It was likewise strongly suggested that a nationwide consultation and involvement of stakeholders in the review and validation be done.

With these opposing views, DepEd found itself in an uncanny predicament.

To the varying concerns aired by both sides on the matter of ARH Education, the Department of Education considered the following:

  • In various fora, DepEd representatives made it clear to the public that "Sex Education is not offered as a subject in the secondary curriculum. There are only Lesson Guides on ARH that are integrated in the different learning areas which actually promote healthier and responsible behaviour among the target groups of young people."

  • Filipino youth and adolescents need sound and accurate information on sexual and reproductive health, to protect them from teen pregnancy, early marriages, gender-based violence, risky social and sexual behaviors, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS. They also need life skills to help them developm self-confidence, self-esteem and deal with a fast changing and complex environment.

  • DepEd accedes to the fact that parents must be responsible for their children's education about their reproductive health and rights. But this is not enough, for various reasons. providing the youth with sound and accurate information on reproductive health and rights is a joint undertaking by parents, school and community. Besides, many parents feel inadequate to communicate with their children about sex. They are concerned but unprepared for intervention. On the other hand, children are often reluctant or too embarrassed to approach parents with the topic and therefore have turned, particularly in more recent times, to more formal sources of sexual health education such as school-based lessons. (Impact of HIV and Sexual Health Ed on the Sexual behaviour of Young peole: A Review Update, Anne Grunseit, UNAIDS, 1997)

  • Reproductive and Sexual Health Education and Life Skills Building do not lead to promiscuity among the youth. On the contrary, it promotes health and responsible sexual and social behavior. Denying Filipino adolescents and young people access to sound and accurate information regarding their reproductive health as well as ASRH services may actually increase the number of unsafe abortions, unwanted pregnancies, STI and HIV/AIDS infection. (Effective Sex Education, Advocates for Youth, USA; YAFS III findings).

  • Despite the institutionalization of the PopED Program (1994-1999) through the UNFPA 4th Country Programme, young people continue to experience future and life threatening conditionslike the following (YAFS III findings)
  1. There are twice as many female youth (71.7%) as males (35.7%) reported to having experienced RH problems;

  2. 23% of young people have had pre-marital sex (PMS);

  3. Increasing rates of teen age pregnancies and early unprotected sex (18% in 1994, 23% in 2002);

  4. High incidence of induced abortion (16 per 100 pregnancies);

  5. Increasing number of youth without adequate knowledge about the means to avoid pregnancy and STDs.

These alarming incidence of ARH problems have prompted DedEd to focus and strengthen its efforts in developing educational programs especially meant for adolescents where enormous and radical changes take place, and which changes demand attention.

In view of the above discussions, the Department of Education takes a stand on pursuing the implementation of the ARH programs and projects integrating and strengthening reproductive health-related concerns into its formal and alternative learning system curricula.

This move is aligned with two (2) international commitments made by the Philippines which were documented in the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) Program of Action and the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS). Such commitment is stipulated in the Country Program Action Plan for 2005-2009 as Millenium Development Goals (MDG) #2 - Education and #4 Child Health.

**culled from the position paper by the Department of Education on Mainstreaming Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) in the School Curricula

** photos taken during a signature campaign calling for the inclusion of ARH in the HS Curriculum during the World Population Day 2006 celebration with the theme: "Pinoy Youth Empowerment for Health and Development"

Thursday, February 8, 2007

MDGs by 2015

This article has been originally posted last November 2006 in the PhilMADE blogsite. But due to its relevance is being reposted in this blog by the moderator...


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight (8) goals to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world's main development challenges. The MDGs are drawn from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration that was adopted by 189 nations-and signed by 147 heads of state and governments (including the Philippines) during the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000.

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

The fight against poverty does not end after the successful STAND UP event in various parts of the country and of the world. It was in fact a renewal of the commitment of different nations. From there, the momentum gained in raising the awareness of the people on the MDGs must be channeled to concrete efforts designed to alleviate the conditions of the poor and marginalized sectors of our society. Though several programs and interventions exist in pursuit of these goals, it is crucial that these initiatives be sustained by the government both in the national and local level through policies with budget allocations for these programs and services. As such, the MAY 2007 Elections is critical. It bears stressing that the public officials who will be voted into office must be politicians who are working and will continue to work towards the attainment of the MDGs for a better Philippines. That being said, our task is to intensify our advocacy campaign so the people and the politicians will work together towards sustainable human development.

"The Millennium Development Goals, particularly the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, cannot be achieved if questions of population and reproductive health are not squarely addressed. And that means stronger efforts to promote women's rights, and greater investment in education and health, including reproductive health and family planning" - Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

By telling them that development is about mothers not dying when they give birth, about children surviving their first few years, about getting every child into primary school, making sure that people have access to clean water where they live, then we will have concrete ways of framing the objectives for development.

As UN-Secretary General Kofi Annan also said, "It is not in the United Nations that the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved. They have to be achieved in each country by the joint efforts of the Governments and the people ."

The devastating effect of poverty on women (in general):

· If a girl is educated for six years or more, as an adult, her prenatal care, postnatal care and childbirth survival rates will dramatically and consistently improve.
· Educated mothers immunize their children 50 percent more often than mothers who are not educated.
· AIDS spreads twice as quickly among uneducated girls than among girls that have even some schooling.
· The children of a woman with five years of primary school education have a survival rate 40 percent higher than children of women with no education.
· A woman living in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy. This compares with a 1 in 3,700 risk for a woman from North America.
· Every minute, a woman somewhere dies in pregnancy or childbirth. This adds up to 1,400 women dying each day-an estimated 529,000 each year-from pregnancy-related causes.
· Almost half of births in developing countries take place without the help of a skilled birth attendant.

More than one billion people—one-sixth of the world’s population—live in extreme poverty, lacking the safewater, proper nutrition, basic health care and social services needed to survive. This means a single episode of disease, an ill-timed pregnancy, a drought or a crop-destroying pest can be the difference between life and death. In many of the poorest countries, life expectancy is half of that in the high-income world—40 years instead of 80 years.

The consequences of this poverty reach far beyond the afflicted societies. Poverty, inequality and disease are chief causes of violent conflict, civil war and state failures. A world with extreme poverty is a world of insecurity.