June 20, 2024

The Baguio City National High School (BCNHS) and Pines City National High School (PCNHS) have been chosen as pilot sites in the ongoing campaign against vaping, chewing moma, and smoking especially among young people.

The La Trinidad National High School (LTNHS) in Benguet has also been chosen as one of the pilot sites.

Cecilia Agpawa of the Youth Against ViCeS Project said the program not only provides information to students but also mobilizes them so they can discourage their peers from engaging in addicting and unhealthy vices and spare themselves from its ill-effects. 

She said the PCNHS and LTNHS have already recently launched their respective teen hubs in line with the program’s purpose.

Agpawa added it not only focuses on the youth but also engages with the schools’ parents-teachers associations to get them organized and involved, which gave birth to the Parents Against Vape group at PCNHS that she hopes will also be established in the two other schools.

“This program is not only focused on the youth but everybody that is involved in school and even in the community where we ensure there are policies that support young people especially, on strong implementation,” she said.

Agpawa said they are closely coordinating with the Department of Education on the formulation of policies for the strict implementation of no smoking and vaping inside school campuses which she noted the Cordillera already has.

The policies make it easier for schools to adopt and implement the program especially if there are similar policies from the community like in Baguio where there is a policy, strict implementation, and enforcement against the vices, she added.

“We now include students in schools but have to make sure that the community is prepared so that when they go out, there is continuity, where they are not only informed at school but also in the community,” Agpawa said.

The Youth Against Vices program seeks to assist young people to come up with different activities that they believe will be the best way for them to share information with their peers and strengthen existing peer programs with emphasis against vaping, smoking, and chewing moma.

She added it is also helping the DepEd produce resource materials and modules on the program that could be taught by teachers in the classroom. – Gaby B. Keith