ILOILO – The Iloilo School-Based Multipurpose Teen Center failed to be on the top ten in this year’s Search forGaling Pook Award for Outstanding Local Governance Program held in SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Sept 1.
There were 16 finalists in this year’s search and only ten were selected by the 17-member National Selection Committee chaired by former Sarangani Governor and Galing Pook’s first Jesse Robredo Leadership Awardee, Miguel Rene Dominguez.
Provincial Population Officer Ramon Yee andProvincial Administrator Raul Banias, who represented Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. during the final evaluation, both said that they will “repackage” the entry for next year’s search.
“It was a tough search, the jurors were critical of the people’s participation, sustainability and impact of program,” Yee said.
Yee added that they learned a lot of good practices from other finalists which the province, especially their office, can adopt or integrate to their existing programs and projects.
In the Teen Center for instance, Yee admittedly said that there were still points or areas of governance that could be improved like in people’s participation wherein parents should be actively involved.
In the present set-up of the Teen Center, only the students, teachers, barangay, municipal and provincial officials were involved in the operations and maintenance of project.
“The participation of the private sector is not yet considered. The roles of the parents and alumni of the school, which are very important, can be harness as well. The more people are involved, the better,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Banias stressed that though the province did not get the sought-after award, the Teen Center was already a winner when the entry made it to the finals out of 153 applications submitted for Galing Pook 2015.
Teen Center, he said, manifests good governance that the governor had for the future leaders and achievers of the province — youth.
“If not for the full support of the governor, this Teen Center will not be made possible. This project is a testament of governor’s love for the youth. All he wanted is for this project to be a support factor in developing the future of our province,” he said.
The establishment of teen centers in public high schools here is the province’s response to the alarming account of teenage pregnancies and use of illegal drugs, smoking and alcoholism among the youth in the country.
In Western Visayas alone, teenage pregnancy cases quadrupled in the past decade, from 4.1% in 2002 to 15.9% in 2013, according to the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Report.
To prevent the youth from engaging in risky behavior, the Provincial Population Office (PPO) introduced the Iloilo School-Based Multipurpose Teen Center Project (ISMTCP).
The program started in August 19, 2011 with a simple purpose—to provide a resting place for high school students during their vacant periods.
The center has since evolved to become a place where teenagers can share and seek counsel from peers and guidance counselors.
It is a training center where partners like the police give training on safety. It has become a library, sports center, recreational center, tutorial center, among many others.
The counseling services also cater to walk-in appointments so as to accommodate the out-of- school youth.
By the end of the year, the province will have a total of 50 teen centers covering all of the major public high schools in 43 local government units, including those from island-barangays of Carles and Concepcion. JAN