Saying they are no longer too young and dull to understand sexuality and reproductive health, students and out-of-school youth members of Partido ng Manggagawa-Kabataan (PMK) and the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) joined the Purple March today as the entire world celebrates the World Population Day.

Carrying posters with the message, “Hindi na kami bata para sa RH”, members of PMK and SDK linked with the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network – Youth (RHAN-Youth) in a Purple March and Parade from Raja Sulayman Park in Malate to the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Pasay City where many other networks converge in renewing their call for the passage of the RH bill.

“Despite the fact that the world of seven billion today remains sharply divided between the rich minority and poor majority, we believe that young people still have a chance for a better future if we know better – especially when it comes to our sexuality and RH needs,” said Karol Hernandez, PMK spokesperson.

 “Hindi nakatulong sa gaya naming mga kabataan ang pag-iwas ng lipunang pag-usapan ang mga usapin sa sekswalidad at RH. Imbes na alam namin ang gagawin dahil sa kakulangan ng impormasyon, mas marami sa amin ang nag-eeksperemento at nakikinig sa kapwa naming kapos din sa kaalaman sa RH,” added Hernandez, explaining how skirting the issues concerning sexuality made the youth, specially young women, dependent on ‘sabi-sabi’ or superstition on one of the most important aspect of their lives – their reproductive health.

According to Ms. Hernandez, because of the lack of relevant and accurate information: 30% of Filipino women become mothers before they reach their 21st birthday; 11 mothers die every day due to pregnancy and child birth complications; 2 out of 5 teenage pregnancies are ‘unwanted’; 46%  of these unwanted pregnancies turn into ‘induced abortions’; 1 out of 4 teenage mothers stop schooling to concentrate on child rearing; and 10% of children of teenage mothers, 1 out of 5 die due to various reasons.

“The RH bill’s passage is an urgent issue for the Filipino youth.  Attached to the compulsory education for the youth – among Grade 5 to 4th year high school students – is the opportunity for a brighter future for us, the youth.  In this issue, we believe that, this time, the conservative adults should listen to the youth,” asserted SDK spokesperson, Ernest Abanes.

Abanes said young Pinoys are also aware of the many problems facing today’s youth such as high cost of education, unemployment and deteriorating labor standards — concerns which they want President Aquino to address in his upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“But PNoy should never forget the equally tall order of getting the RH bill approved by Congress,” ended Abanes.