SIQUIJOR teens now have more places to go to for help and advice on matters of the “Heart” with the establishment of its Provincial Teen Center in addition to the municipal teen centers in five of its towns.

A first in Central Visayas, the Provincial Teen Center will serve as an avenue for young Siquijudnons to access the different activities and services offered by the Provincial Population Office (PPO) and the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation.

At the center, they will be able to know more about HIV-Aids, early sexual encounters, adolescent health, reproductive health, and teenage pregnancy (Heart).

The Commission on Population and Development (Popcom)-Central Visayas and the Provincial Government of Siquijor signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) recently for the establishment of the Provincial Teen Center.

Popcom Regional Director Bruce Ragas lauded the Provincial Government of Siquijor for responding to the government’s call to implement programs for the youth and address issues surrounding them.

“This MOA signing is very timely and urgent. In fact, nag-una gyud ang Siquijor sa pagtubag sa hagit sa Presidente because last June 25, the President signed Executive Order (EO) 141 declaring as national priority ang problema sa teenage pregnancy,” he said.

Ragas also expressed delight in the SK Federation’s active involvement in the implementation of youth programs which adheres to the EO’s mandate for them to allocate resources for these programs.

“I hope that this initiative will be sustained throughout the years because we in Popcom VII commit to be always there to provide the technical assistance needed for the implementation of the population management programs, di lang sa adolescent health and development,” he added.

In her message, Siquijor Vice Governor Mei Ling Quezon-Brown recognized the importance of providing guidance and support to the youth so they become responsible adults.

She emphasized that the government should help the adolescents face the issues surrounding them such as teenage pregnancy, health issues, mental health, and even love life issues.

“Tabangan gyud nato atong mga kabataan. This Provincial Teen Center is a venue for all the youth of Siquijor nga they will feel welcome, heard and understood. Wala’y judgement,” the vice governor said.

Governor Zaldy Villa, for his part, assured that the Capitol will continue to work hard for the development of young Siquijudnons and the entire province.

At present, Siquijor has a total of 80 youth advocates led by the Leaders and Advocates for Greater Siquijor (Lagsiq) and the different youth groups in the towns of Siquijor, Lazi, San Juan, Maria, Larena, and Enrique Villanueva.

SK Federation President Brylle Deeiah Tumarong encouraged Siquijor teens to visit the teen centers to learn more about adolescent health, join in different activities, and share their problems with the youth advocates and peers.

The Provincial Teen Center will also house a Youth Library soon which can be accessed anytime. (PR)