PALO, Leyte—Alarmed of the increasing incidence of teenage pregnancies in the Philippines, the Commission on Population (POPCOM) in Eastern Visayas will launch hrough a road show an educational caravan giving Filipino youth critical information on how to delay sexual debut, prevent teen pregnancy and avoid sexually ransmitted infections (STI). Called U4U Teen Trail, the program aims to deliver critical information to Filipino teens aged 10-19 to prevent teen pregnancy and reduce the prevalence of STI through online and mobile platforms.

POPCOM-8 Regional Director Elnora R. Pulma said the U4U will be part of the Department of Health (DOH) on Wheels: Kalusugan Pangkalahatan or KP Road show which aims to bring health care advocacies to every corner of the country by 2016. The KP Road show will be held on July 1 at the Schistosomiasis Research and Training Center in Palo, Leyte and on July 2 at the Tacloban City Convention Center in Tacloban City.

Pulma added that the U4U was first launched in Albay in January 2014, and following that successful event is to bring the initiative to various parts of the country with the hope to engage more young Filipinos to avail of adolescent-friendly services. “It will focus on promoting public health while providing services and information to women and children, adolescents, fathers, and senior citizens of every community,” Pulma said.

The initiative comes as the country’s stakeholders work double time to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5—the reduction of child mortality and the improvement of maternal health in the Philippines. Supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and DOH, POPCOM plans to bring the U4U Teen Trail to as many schools and barangays as possible nationwide.

Pulma said the caravan features an interactive exhibit called #bakasBukas, managed by teen facilitators. She added that participants can journey through the exhibit to learn about puberty, self-image, relationships, preventing pregnancy and gender-based violence, and youth advocacy.

Through structured learning exercises, participants also learned about myths and misconceptions on sex and sexuality. Conceptualized by POPCOM, the U4U Teen Trail caravan also serves as a promotion vehicle to introduce teens to online and mobile tools. A dynamic website named was also designed. It also set up an interactive voice response system (IVRS), a mobile platform that provides automated information to a mobile phone texter. The U4U is the second major adolescent health and youth development advocacy campaign after the success of “Crossroads,” an adolescent youth and development film. (REYAN ARINTO,POPCOM-8 Information Management & Communications Unit)