Samar Gov. Sharee Ann Tan signed an agreement on Nov. 24 with Zuellig Foundation and several government agencies to help address the teenage pregnancy problem besetting the province. (SAMAR INFORMATION OFFICE)

TACLOBAN CITY – The provincial government of Samar together with its partner agencies entered a memorandum of agreement which aims to address the problem of teenage pregnancy in the province.

The memorandum of understanding signed on Nov.24, the signatories said, signifies their collective commitment and united effort to address the pressing issue to ensure that the youth of Samar has opportunities to education, and the resources they need to make an informed decision.

Aside from Tan, the agreement was signed by Dr. Anthony Faraon, Zuellig Foundation deputy executive director and representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Commission on Population and Development, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Education, Department of Health.

The program is part of the implementation of the Joint Program on Accelerating the Reduction of Adolescent Pregnancy in Samar, a project funded by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KIOCA), United Nations Population Fund, United Nations International Children’s Emergency, and World Health Organization.

KOICA and the UN are implementing a four-year partnership program in Samar and Southern Leyte to support the Philippine government in reducing the rate of adolescent pregnancy in the country.

Based on the 2020 civil registration and vital statistics report, Samar reported 961 births among adolescent mothers second to Southern Leyte.

In the 2021 Field Health Service Information System, the province has also reported a low utilization rate on modern contraceptives among women ages 19 and younger.

“This problem is so big that it cannot be solved by one agency. The best way to address this is by collective approach,” Gov. Tan said.

“We need to acknowledge and own the problem, and share it to know if what agencies have the capacity to help,” the governor added.

Dr. Faraon said that they are committed to helping the provincial government of Samar in implementing interventions to address the problem which he described as a “social emergency.”

“This signing is a testament that if we collectively work together on the reduction of adolescent birth rate we would actually able to meet our overall objective,” he said.

“The commitment showcased by Gov. Tan and the collaborative efforts of stakeholders exemplify a proactive approach to address and mitigate the impact of teenage pregnancies on the community’s health. Samar is now on a path towards positive change, thanks to these decisive actions,” Dr. Faraon added.

Prior to the signing of the agreement, Gov. Tan and together with Dr. Faraon went to Barangay Mercedes in Catbalogan City and visited an adolescent mother to personally investigate and see firsthand the complexities of health inequities linked to teenage pregnancies.