Cesar Ocson, 18 years old, stood proud and brave before a group of robust and vibrant teenagers of municipality of Ivisan in Capiz. He has no choice but to advance, in his own little way, measures to weaken the vacuum that steals the bloom and the bliss of the youth. Unlike other soldiers or traditional army, Cesar, together with his team, called Wi-Response, is only equipped with conventional armadas: flyers, books and teaching materials to combat a global foe.
According to United Nations Population Fund, the Philippines is the only country in Asia with increasing number of teenage pregnancy cases. One out of 10 teenage girls bears a child before the age of 18 years old, contributing to the skyrocketing rates on maternal and neonatal mortality.
Despite the rigorous campaign of the government and various NGOs, still the numbers are hitting the roof, which impose a serious threat to the future of this nation. Teenage pregnancy robs from the young their fair chance to fulfill their own dreams and aspirations.
Believing in the power of their positive idea, a group of youth from Capiz in Roxas City started a grassroots revolution to educate teenagers regarding reproductive health in their communities. They were able to train 600+ peer facilitators who reached out to almost 9,000 teenagers, teaching them the basics of reproductive health, an essential aspect in preventing teenage pregnancy.
Granting the presumption that our government is listening, this proven effective model of intervention can be studied for the purpose of replicating to other regions of the country with the same problems.
Moreover, our policy makers should take into consideration, the fact, that to address problems affecting the youth; a youth-based and youth-led solution should be adopted. Our government should listen attentively and genuinely, and should learn to work with the youth.
For now, Cesar and his team will continue to rally more youths behind their cause of mitigating teenage pregnancy in the country. We need more of the likes of Cesar.