The Commission on Population (POPCOM) taps rising Kapuso actor Miguel Tanfelix as the Celebrity Ambassador of U4U, its flagship program for Filipino teens. POPCOM’s partnership with the teen star was formally launched during a press conference held last September 14, 2016 in Quezon City.
“This advocacy is all about respect for one’s self,” said 17-year old Tanfelix. “When a young person uses his or her own strengths and works on his or her own weaknesses, that person earns not only self-respect but also the trust of other people.”
POPCOM kicked off U4U in 2014 as an innovative caravan for teens and by teens. POPCOM executive director, Dr. Juan Antonio Perez said that U4U is one of several programs of the government aimed to fulfill the right of young Filipinos to accurate information.
Through its various face-to-face, mobile and social media platforms, U4U brings critical messages to millions of Filipino teenagers and help them make responsible decisions to prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
“So far, we have brought these messages to over 4 million young Filipinos from Batanes to Maguindanao. Almost every week, U4U events are held in different parts of the country, in intimate or big open spaces,” Perez said. He also encouraged members of the press to share U4U’s mobile and online platforms with their young loved-ones.
“Teenage pregnancy is on the rise. Approximately, one in three teenagers had engaged in premarital sex,” said Perez, citing a 2013 study in the Philippines.
“I hope to help POPCOM reach as many teens as possible,” said Tanfelix, whose social media accounts have over a million following. Tanfelix is one of the top young personalities who have used social media to showcase their talents. YouTube videos of Tanfelix using the app Musical.ly were featured in the television show, “Good Morning America.”
Tanfelix’s appointment as the U4U ambassador befits his personality as he is widely regarded as one of the most sought-after and responsible young actors today.
With the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), POPCOM and its partner, the Center for Health Solutions and Innovations Philippines, Inc. (CHSI) selected Tanfelix not only for his star power but also for his decision to continue his education.
“Miguel Tanfelix is a good role model. Despite being a celebrity, he still finds time to study. He has a great relationship with his parents and family. As the U4U Ambassador, he will inspire other Filipino teens to make responsible decisions for their future,” said Dr. Carmina Aquino, senior technical advisor of CHSI. As a U4U ambassador, Tanfelix will participate in a number of awareness-raising activities including, the U4U Teen Trail event – an interactive event on puberty, romance and relationships. POPCOM and CHSI helped prepare Tanfelix for his task as U4U ambassador by engaging him as a peer educator along with other student leaders of Commonwealth High School in Quezon City.
On September 17, Tanfelix will lead a U4U Teen Trail event at the Commonwealth High School. Tanfelix also had the privilege to meet UNFPA country representative, Klaus Beck to hand over the Grand Anvil Award, the most coveted recognition in public relations and strategic communications. Last March, U4U was named as the most outstanding communication program on social good in 2015 by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP).
“When I heard of and read about U4U, I told myself that I wanted to be part of U4U. When I had the chance to meet the other peer educators and attend a really fun workshop about teen health, I fell in love with U4U,” said Tanfelix.
Tanfelix’s formal induction as U4U Ambassador came just a week before the pilot of his new show Usapang Real Love (URL) with onscreen partner, Bianca Umali, and also before his 18th birthday.
“I still have two more years as a teenager. I hope to continue being the voice of responsible Filipino teens.”
Tanfelix started his career in 2004, after winning the plum title in Starstruck Kids, a talent search. Since then, he has appeared in various TV shows of GMA 7, most notably in Mulawin, Niño and Wish I May. Apart from U4U, Tanfelix is also involved in a reading and literacy program for school children.