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DSWD calls for support to ProtecTEEN among Rizal constituents

Students, educators, and teenage mothers from Antipolo City, Rizal sign the pledge of commitment and create advocacy materials for Project ProtecTEEN as part of its Advocacy Forum and strengthening of Referral Networks through Coffee Table Discussion conducted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development on Tuesday (July 11) in Antipolo City.

As part of its continuing efforts to empower teenage mothers and their families, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) called for the support of students, educators, teenage parents, clients, and local officials in Antipolo City to its Project ProtecTEEN.

Through the project’s Coffee Table Discussion and Advocacy Forum held on Tuesday (July 11) at the Ynares Event Center in Antipolo City, the DSWD strengthened its urgent call for adolescent mothers’ empowerment and teenage pregnancy prevention.

“Marami pa tayong dapat gawin. Ang key dito ay ang pakikipagtulungan ng national at local offices, community, and families… Kaya kami [ang DSWD] nandirito para mag-implement ng ProtecTEEN dahil ito ay para sa inyo… Tayo ay magtulong-tulong sa ngalan ng serbisyo!” DSWD Field Office IV-A Assistant Regional Director for Operations Mylah Gatchalian said.

(We still have a lot to do. The key here is the collaboration of national and local offices, the community, and families… That’s why we [the DSWD] are here to implement ProtecTEEN because it is for you… Let us work together in the name of service!)

The advocacy activity was primarily aimed at increasing the awareness of secondary-level students on the implications of teenage pregnancies and teaching them to help in preventing the further increase of adolescent pregnancy cases in the region.

Likewise, it was conducted to gain support from different local stakeholders and partners in providing programs and services for adolescent parents in their localities.

The attendees in the advocacy event include the more than 80 high school student leaders and educators from the San Jose National High School, adolescent mothers, ProtecTEEN beneficiaries in the area, staff from the local government unit, barangay officials, and project implementers.

Also present in the activity were representatives from the Antipolo City Social Welfare and Development Office, the Antipolo Local Government Unit, community leaders, the Department of Education, and the Commission on Population and Development.

Dr. Rowena Sison, the principal of the host school, emphasized the importance of the activity especially since they encounter early pregnancy cases among their students, as well as incidents of abuse within the family.

“Napakaganda ng programang ito [ProtecTEEN] na kailangan suportahan. Ang inyo [government] pong ginagawa ay priceless dahil ine-extend ang programa sa mga schools,” Dr. Sison pointed out.

(This program [ProtecTEEN] is very wonderful and deserves support. What you are doing is priceless because you are extending the program to schools.)

Part of the activity was the signing of a pledge of commitment among the participants and the creation of advocacy materials for Project ProtecTEEN.

As the DSWD’s newest social welfare model of intervention that intends to create a supportive environment for adolescent mothers and their families, Project ProtecTEEN is designed to empower its target clients through the provision of direct social services and assistance, referral to other agencies, and organizing peer advocates.

The forum and discussion were conducted as part of the pilot implementation of the project ProtecTEEN in Antipolo City and to assist in the continued implementation of a child-friendly, gender-responsive, and rights-based approach to teenage pregnancy at the local level.

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