Starting the year right for the 101XSX campaign, 157 Grade 7-8 students from Tabuk City National High School (TCNHS) joined this year’s first Teen Trail on January 29, 2015. Together with the Tabuk City Population office, PopCom-CAR brought the fun and interactive activity about reproductive health and development for the second time in Kalinga.

Part of the activity was a training on Teen Facilitation for the 25 students who lead the games and learning sessions for the teens of TCNHS. The training that was held at the Grand Zion Hotel on January 28, 2015 provided the teen facilitators with knowledge on guiding their peers to activities that were both fun and educational at the same time. The teen facilitators were also provided with important concepts and knowledge on adolescent reproductive health and sexuality to help them deliver key messages at the Teen Trail activity and even after that.

A glaring issue that came from the results of the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality study of UP Population Institute was that the Cordilleras had the highest incidence of teen pregnancies in the country. Based on the study, 1 out of every 5 teen women aged 15-19 are already pregnant or have already given birth. The Commission on Population hopes that activities such as the Teen Trail would help curb these numbers from growing and assist teens to make better life choices when it comes to their health and development.

The Teen Trail is part of the region’s 101XSX: 101 Ways to Become Empowered Youth campaign which has been launched last year in February. The project is a social movement campaign aimed at involving the youth in finding ways to avoid risky sexual and non-sexual behaviors. 101 plays on the idea of “one on one” discussions, opinions and sharing of ideas. On the other hand, XSX stands for “X the early sex” urging youth aged 15-24 to not engage in early sexual activities to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.The 101XSX also wants to draw commitments and actions from youth so that they will be fully involved in self, peer and community development. The movement also wants to urge other youth to mimic actions of model peers through message building in social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Since then the campaign has reached 1885 Teens through activities in Baguio City, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Abra and then Rizal in Kalinga. This year the campaign plans to reach more teens starting in Tabuk City and launching the campaign in Apayao. With support coming from various sectors and agencies, PopCom-CAR hopes that Teens from all over the region can achieve their full potential and become responsible citizens in the future.

Partner agencies also have recognized the need to reach out and educate the youth. Collaborative efforts and actions are also taken to respond to issues of the youth through the development. The Regional Youth Advisory Council (RYAC) headed by the National Youth Commission passed Resolution No. 2 series of 2014, a resolution adopting and supporting the 101 XSX: 101 Ways to Become Empowered Youth as an Inter-Agency Campaign to prevent early sexual encounters for the youth. One of the main directives of the Region through the Regional Development Council is to address the increasing teenage pregnancies.