The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance establishing a city policy in preventing teenage pregnancies, institutionalizing social protection for teenage parents and providing funds for the said purpose.
Under the said ordinance, it shall be the policy of the local government to recognize, promote, and strengthen the role of adolescents and young people in the overall human and socio-economic development of the city; recognize and promote the responsibility of the city to create and sustain an enabling environment for adolescents to enable them to achieve their development aspirations and potentials as well as mobilize them to positively contribute to the development of the nation; pursue sustainable and genuine human development that values the worth and dignity of the total human person and afford full protection to peoples rights, especially of adolescent women and men and their families; promote and protect the human rights of all individuals, including adolescents, particularly in their exercise of their rights to sexual and reproductive health, equality and equity before the law, their right to development, their right to education, freedom of expression, their right to participate in decision-making, and their right to choose and make responsible decisions for themselves; pursue an adolescent pregnancy prevention and reduction strategy that is anchored on the empowerment of adolescents and their rights to health and development that is cognizant of the structural barriers, including but not limited to, gender, poverty, age, ethnicity, and disability that lead to adolescent pregnancy and that is based on adolescent needs and preferences among others.
The ordinance stipulated that the City Health Services Office (CHSO), in collaboration with the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), City Youth Development Office, Local Youth Development Council, and in consultation with the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM), Department of Education, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other agencies and institutions concerned with the development of the youth, shall develop and promote educational materials and modules that will promote comprehensive sexuality education in schools, communities and other youth institutions.
The local government, through the CSWDO and CHSO, the DSWD, DOH and POPCOM, shall collaborate to intensify and institutionalize interactive learning methodologies for the comprehensive sexuality education among out of school youth and their communities and workplaces as well as unsuitably housed youth, provided that, the needs of indigenous, working persons with disabilities, and adolescents in social institutions are considered in the design and promotion of sexuality education among adolescents.
The ordinance emphasized that adolescents who are presently or currently engaged in sexual activities shall be allowed access with consent from their parents to modern family planning methods with proper counseling by trained service providers. The counseling is carried out with the end in view of ensuring healthy practices through the promotion of optimum health outcomes and protecting minors, especially those in vulnerable circumstances, from possible predatory and sexually exploitative practices.