To say that the family planning debate in the Philippines was and still is intense is an understatement. In the midst of the intense debate, we advocated for the inclusion of young people's sexual and reproductive health and rights. In the run-up to the passage the run-up to the passage of the Reproductive Health Law, we called attention to the issue of adolescent and teen pregnancy. This issue prior to our efforts was not a central subject in the public discourse. Through our efforts, adolescent and teen pregnancy was placed in the front, middle, and center of the debate, calling attention to the often neglected sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.
Our studies revealed that our country, the Philippines, is the "gold medalist" when it comes to incidence of early pregnancy in Southeast Asia. The alarming statistics and the individual narratives of stigma, discrimination, and exclusion of young mothers ignited my commitment for family planning and young people's reproductive health and rights.
The refusal of some sectors of society to accept that young people have rights to sexual and reproductive health is the biggest challenge we've faced. To overcome this, we advocated for young people's right to access accurate, scientific, age-appropriate and culturally-sensitive reproductive and sexual education. We also pushed for young people's right to access reproductive health services specially focusing on vulnerable sectors among the youth and young mothers.
Access to information and services still remains the biggest challenge in family planning in our country. This becomes more glaring among the young population. We have been continuously advocating for greater state subsidy and more adolescent and youth-friendly services.
In the next five years, I would like focus on continuing our work on comprehensive reproductive health and sexuality education. Particularly, I would like to work on ensuring that the standards on comprehensive sexuality education fully implemented and met. I would like to work more closely on the reduction of stigma, discrimination, and exclusion of young mothers. I plan to further intensify our efforts on early pregnancy prevention.