Inadequate and inappropriate program strategies have hampered efforts to implement the Cairo Plan of Action in the Philippines.
Shifting from the family planning and population control to the reproductive health (RH) and rights framework has not been generally effective and efficient for many reasons. These include a lack of common understanding of the action requirements of the RH framework and an insufficiency of current and relevant data on many aspects of the reproductive health situation of Filipino women and men of various ages and socio-economic status.
Serious data gaps exist in the areas of adolescent sexuality, greater male involvement in RH, cancer incidence and management, post-abortion care as well as the cultural context of reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS (Sobritchea, 1999).
To produce data on these topics, quantitative researches were undertaken, primarily national and sector-specific surveys. However, qualitative data are lacking, especially on the subject of adolescent sexuality, to explain the behavioral patterns and social trends that have emerged from the surveys.
Feminist research approaches now more popular in the Philippines generate new knowledge and provide a situation that privileges the perspective, feelings and worldview of intended beneficiaries.
Assessments of the effectiveness of studies showed the importance of designing projects that reflect the respondents’ needs and worldviews to achieve intended outcomes and objectives.
Objectives of the Study
This study added to current knowledge about the beliefs, attitudes, perceptions and behavior of young people in their late teens belonging to different socio-economic classes and living in urban and rural areas.
It examined the factors influencing their beliefs and behavior and determining the critical events or “turning points” in their lives that have shaped their self-concept or identity.
Specific research questions included:
•What are the beliefs, attitude, perceptions and behavior of young people specifically about relationships (with the sane and opposite sex), sexuality, health, reproductive health, rights, entitlements and privileges? •What are their notion of self and identity?
* This is an excerpt of Chapters 1 and 2 of the book “Filipino Adolescents in Changing Times” •What are the factors (i.e. sociological, cultural, psychological, economic, etc.) that shape and influence their beliefs, attitudes and behavior? •What are the stressors of adolescent life?
•How do young people solve, respond and cope with problems?
To gather data for the qualitative research, two methods were used, namely, focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews.
Focus Group Discussions with Selected Groups of Young People
A series of FGDs organized according to various categories of young people was used to elicit major issues and concerns of adolescents.
Participants were organized by gender (male and female), age bracket (13 to 16 or 17 to 21), place of residence (urban and rural) socio-economic status (using type of school as variable, that is private and public or out-of-school youth), and living arrangements (staying with or living away from family).
These characteristics were considered to have a major impact on adolescent attitude and behavior particularly with regards to sexuality issues.
Four to nine young people joined the 32 discussions groups with 16 homogeneous clusters each for the 13-16 and the 17-21 age groups (see box).
A total of 189 young people participated in the FGDs. The mean average age was 14.3 years for the younger group and 18.7 years of the older set.
-Male, rural, public school, living with parents
-Male, rural, public school, living away from parents
-Male, rural, private school, living with parents
-Male, rural, private school, living away from parents