By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Ilocos Norte Rep. Ria Fariñas has filed a bill seeking to provide young women’s kit to female students in public schools.
She cited the need for the government to provide hygiene kits for the menstrual needs of female students in public schools, and implement a complementary program that would promote awareness to address the stigma and misconceptions attached to menstruation.
“The unexpected arrival of the first menstruation or menarche causes confusion and panic among the inexperienced teenagers. Due to the sudden start of menstruation, these young women do not have immediate access to necessary menstruation items like sanitary napkins, ” Fariñas said in filing House Bill 4590.
“Most of the time, they experience their first menstruation when they are within the premises of the school and are not allowed to go out for security purposes, ” she added.
Fariñas cited that the Department of Education (DepEd) issued Order No. 10, series of 2016 entitled “Policy and Guidelines for the Comprehensive Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Schools (WINS) Program.
The program seeks to remedy the needs of female students and cope with the dilemma brought about by the start of their menstrual periods while in school, she said.
HB 4590 or the proposed “Young Women’s Kit Act” provides that all female students from Grade 7 to 12, including students in earlier grade levels who may experience the onset menstruation shall be provided with a Young Women’s Kit within the first month of the academic calendar of public academic institutions.
Under the bill, Fariñas proposed that the Department of Health (DOH) shall serve as the lead agency in the identification of the contents of the Young Women’s Kit.
It provides that the DOH, in coordination with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and National Youth Commission (NWC) shall create and develop materials to educate students, parents, guardians, and school personnel.
The DepEd shall keep an eye on the compliance of all elementary and secondary public schools with the provisions of the Young Women’s Kit Program, and on the implementation of educational and awareness programs on the subject of menstruation, according to the bill.
Under HB 4590, private schools are also encouraged to implement and fund the program within their respective campuses with the guidance of implementing agencies, the bill said.
The amount necessary for the initial implementation of the proposed Act shall be sourced from the budgets of the DepEd, PCW, NYC, and DOH, it said.
Thereafter, such sums necessary for the continued implementation of the proposed Act shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act,
The DepEd, in coordination with the PCW, NYC, and DOH, shall promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act within 60 days from its effectivity.