Over 1,000 delegates watched as Team TeenPUYOG, from Region XII—Soccsksargen, was named the Grand Champion of Ideas Positive Run 8 at the two-day Ideas Positive Youth Forum on Public Health, organized by Unilab Foundation in Iloilo City.
Their project, “IDOLescent M.A.T.T.E.R,” empowered peer educators to engage T’boli youth on the prevention of teenage pregnancy.
The team’s members—Claresse Ann Bautista, Desirre Merced Mae Pagaduan, Elizabeth Ariel Hannah Maturan, Edgardo Martinez, and Raffle Tagapulotan—were assisted by their mentor, Godwin Lord Gallo.
“The positive idea behind this project is to capacitate our IDOLescents to take lead in [addressing] teenage pregnancy through peer education,” they said, as the project helped reduce teenage pregnancy by 50 percent during the time of implementation.
The team believes the key to their project’s success was “the positive engagement of the indigenous community of T’boli in Barangay Maligang, together with the barangay council and Sangguniang Kabataan.”
Youth delegates were joined by representatives from civil society organizations, government agencies and local government units, advocates and persons with disability.
All the sessions were designed with the objective of discussing pressing health issues and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the solutions that can be contributed by the youth.
At the opening ceremonies, ULF Executive Director Lilibeth Aristorenas emphasized the role of the youth in development.
“As we celebrate International Youth Day, [we can see] that the youth is indeed a force to reckon with. Millennials are taking over the world to build a better future for the next generation.”
Randy Halasan, Commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Emergent Leadership, delivered the keynote speech.
He said: “The youth have a crucial role to play in the future of our country. Collaborate, innovate, and inspire other youth to join you in your other programs and projects.”
Elaine Tan, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation, talked about the state of the ASEAN youth, and echoed Halasan and Aristorenas’ sentiments.
“Youth is an important stakeholder in the ASEAN,” she said.
Among the youth delegates were over 300 newly elected members of the Sangguniang Kabataan.
The SK attended a special workshop that gave them an overview of their responsibilities as elected youth officials, and equipped them with the knowledge to develop and implement health programs in their barangays during their term.
Besides the SK participants, many other delegates expressed their desire to participate more actively in health projects.Select delegates collaborated to draft a collective youth statement for health.
In the document, titled ‘Youth Declaration for Healthier Communities,’ the youth stated, “We believe that the youth are the prime movers of change. We acknowledge that we have creativity, energy, and passion, and we will do our best to help make our communities better and healthier.”
“We commit to raise awareness among the youth on their vital role as agents of change,” they added.
The statement was presented to the National Youth Commission, in the hopes that it would be adopted by Congress and other relevant government bodies as a reference on how the youth can participate in matters of public health.