PopCom, USAID push for parent-teenager talks to counter teenage pregnancies
MANILA, Philippines — Having parents and their children talk openly is believed to still be one of the most practical and possibly efficient ways to reduce teenage pregnancies, local authorities and international organizations said.
According to the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a nationwide campaign called “Konektado Tayo” — Filipino for “we are connected” — would shorten the communications gap between adolescents and their parents.
Konektado Tayo would make use of Facebook as a primary platform to encourage open communication lines on not-so-often discussed topics like love, sexuality, and relationships.
PopCom executive director Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III said that both organizations acknowledge that with Facebook being a go-to medium for Filipinos, it could be a good platform to reach out to parents and their children.
“POPCOM and USAID acknowledge the popularity of Facebook among Filipinos, which is where most of us connect with friends, families and other people. With Konektado Tayo, we have harnessed the power of social media to reach parents, guardians and children in initiating conversations among themselves,” Perez said.
“If Facebook is where our young citizens obtain information on almost anything and everything about the world around them, then we made certain through Konektado Tayo that they could get their initial information on sexuality through reliable sources, with proper guidance and contextualization, within the same platform,” he added.
As of February 2021, USAID and PopCom said that the Konektado Tayo Facebook page has reached over 13 million people, with around 4,200 followers. They also found out that most of the engagements are from people aged 35 to 54 years old, which is the actual target market of the program.
Latest population figures have indicated that the country’s population growth rate has slowed down a bit, but PopCom has noted that it remains to be one of the highest growing nations in the Asean region.
Last July 7, it was formally declared that the Philippines’ population was at 109,035,343 as of May 1, 2020, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) census. A separate data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) showed that the country’s population growth rate was faster than India, the United States, and China.
Such a milestone, PopCom said back then, should be considered as a signal to intensify the country’s programs on population and development.
Just this June 29, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 141 which made teenage pregnancy a national priority — a move lauded by PopCom. Perez explained then that EO 141 will help the agency in addressing gaps in adolescent pregnancy prevention.
Perez believes that the Konektado Tayo initiative would also play a big part in preventing teenage pregnancies — which UNFPA says costs the country around P33 billion annually.
“With various concerns being faced by our youth today such as teenage pregnancy and lack of education, we believe that Konektado Tayo will be instrumental in teaching our children to develop a healthy self-image, empowering them to think critically, and enabling them to make wise decisions, while strengthening their capacity to do what is right,” Perez said.
“With Konektado Tayo, parents will never be alone in this endeavor, as we commit to provide our shared efforts in creating strategies and avenues for meaningful dialogues with their children toward their overall development, their families and eventually, our nation,” he added.
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