By: Rodrigo S. Victoria
Naval, Biliran (22 January) – In order to address the different concerns and to map-out strategies to sustain the Responsible Youth and Family Program (RYFP) in the province of Biliran, the members of the Provincial and Municipal Technical Working Groups of RYFP, heads of concerned national government agencies and officers of the Biliran Peer Counselors Organization (BIPCO) attended a workshop held on January 21, 2009 at the Biliran Garden Resort.
According to Dr. Josefina Cabigon of the University of the Philippines (UP) Institute on Population, there are various concerns relative to the implementation of RYF program in the fields that need immediate attention..
She added that there is a need now to craft strategies to make the program sustainable five years from now.
On the other hand, Dr. Marieta B. Sumagaysay, Dean of the Division of Social Sciences at UP Visayas-Tacloban College, informed that based on their in-depth interviews and focus group discussions among the target clients of the RYFP in Biliran province on December 17, 2008, she together with Dr. Cabigon noted some weaknesses that must be addressed immediately to sustain the program.
Dr. Cabigon and Dr. Sumagaysay were the officials responsible behind the conduct of the research on the 2006 Biliran Adolescent Sexuality and Reproductive Health Survey (BASRH), results of which were presented in November 2007 here in Biliran and was attended by representatives coming from the different sectors in Biliran province.
In the 2006 BASRH, it was found out in the survey that the incidence of pre-marital sex is relatively high among the teenagers in the province of Biliran.
The two research professionals in their recent visit to Biliran province in December last year discovered several concerns that need immediate action. These concerns could hinder the sustainability of the program like the need for re-orientation of all stakeholders, raising of awareness in the community especially parents, teachers, guidance counselors, Sangguniang Kabataan and the youth in the community, lack of full-time staff to manage the teen center, inavailability of MTWG to meet due to time constraints, need for the passage of ordinances to support the program at the LGUs, need for regular documentation, weak implementation of activities and limited involvement of some institutions.
During the workshop, the participants were able to give their respective recommendations on to how to make the RYFP sustainable in the province of Biliran based on five major thrusts such as financial and logistics, knowledge management, political and legal, organizational and structural and social acceptability. (PIA-Biliran)