Jose Mateo Dela Cruz
Family Planning polices have been a topic of intense debates for the past years. As a youth advocate, I am involved in policy and program consultations, dialogues and discussions with UNFPA, Non-Government and National Government Agencies on the discussion of instituting policies & programs on family planning & reproductive health. I represented young people in the national consultations for the Philippine Development Plan & the Philippine Youth Development Plan to advocate priority focus on the support for Family Planning and RH in these government plans and the passage of the RH Law , which eventually led to successful government priority and focus. As I remain steadfast, I still monitor the implementation of the government and I also train young people to become FP campaigners.
Increasing statistics of women dying every day because of pregnancy complications, increasing trend of adolescent pregnant women, lack of priority focus on budgeting on adolescent health, the need of youth involvement on Family Planning policy discussions and attempts of anti-family planning legislators to derail Family Planning budget & services - these are the contributory factors why it pushed me to take action and become a FP advocate & campaign for youth involvement on these issues.
Anti- Family Planning legislators and conservative leadership & membership of the Catholic and some Christian Churches have been the deterrents in pushing our legislators and policy makers to push forward legislation and policies on Family Planning. We encouraged fellow FP supporters to join numerous mobilizations and dialogues with legislators in their offices and to attend Senate and House committee hearings to show that young people are demanding for the passage of policies and a law on FP.
As of the moment, access to correct information, to proper budgeting and to health services are the main challenges of the country in terms of family planning, especially for youth. The key steps to address these challenges are the following: 1. Mainstream and correctly implement Comprehensive Sexuality Education in all levels & forms of education. 2. Lobby higher state subsidy on FP & Adolescent Health in the 2017 Budget. 3. Develop Youth Friendly Services in all healthcare facilities.
I will continue advocating to fully implement comprehensive sexuality education & develop youth friendly services via engaging key stakeholders & strategic decision-makers & policy makers to make them accountable to the country's commitment to the Global Goals & FP2020. To strengthen the demand & constituency component to compel them, I will train a pool of next generation youth leaders to advocate for FP who will demand for policies & services from the communities & schools nationwide.