The Regional Technical Working Committee on AHYD, composed of several sectors concerned with Adolescent Health Development convened last May 19 at the Action Coordination Training (ACT) Building, Department of Health Region 10. The meeting was attended by eighteen (18) representatives from the Department of Health, Commission on Population, Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Mindanao Health, National Youth Commission, Philippine Statistical Authority and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Among the important matters that the body discussed were the programs and projects to be implemented to address issues and concerns confronting the young people.

Commission on Population Regional Director, Mr. Jeremias Gupit welcomed the representatives. He highlighted the need for convergence to address the challenges now confronting our adolescents. On the other hand, DOH Regional Director, Dr. Nimfa Torrizo supported the statement by declaring that “Convergence is an important avenue to strategize moves to reduce the problems of the young people such as pre-marital sex, early pregnancy, and drugs. Adolescents comprise 21% of the Philippine population and government and other partners must work hand in hand for the total development of this sector.”

During the presentation of the YAFS 2013, Mr. Jeremias Cabasan, Technical Services Division Chief of POPCOM said that 2 in every 5 teenagers in Region 10 have already engaged in an early sexual encounter, and that, 90% of the adolescents’ sexual encounter were unprotected. Mr. Cabasan reminded all agencies to review their programs and projects of the past years, check if those projects truly addressed the increasing incidence of pre-marital sex, early pregnancy, and drugs. Dr. Roy Gavino of Mindanao Health suggested the expansion of the membership of the technical team to include DOLE, DILG, Solemnizing Officers of inter-faith organizations and a representative from the youth sector. He also moved that a resolution be passed urging the RDC to encourage LGUs to transform health facilities to be adolescent-friendly.

The meeting ended after each member agency reported an update about their programs for the youth for this year 2016. POPCOM 10 will consolidate the activities of all agencies on AHYD and monitor the implementation of the activities.