PASIG CITY, August 16, 2019 – Following the directives of the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the Department of Education (DepEd)–Office of the Secretary (OSEC) and Bureau of Learner Support Services (BLSS), and the Department of Health (DOH), shall convene a summit to discuss and understand the education, health, and development dimensions of early pregnancy in forging multi-stakeholder consensus on ways forward.

To be carried out in cooperation with the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA); Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA); United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA); and Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), which form part of the steering committee, the summit entitled “Kapit-kamay: Empowering the Youth to Make Informed Choices” shall take place on August 22, 2019 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

The summit aims to share information and data on early pregnancy, and understand its education, health, and development dimensions; understand the risks and contributory factors to early pregnancy; identify common ground and existing interventions; and formulate platforms or movement with diverse identities for stakeholders to continue policy advocacy and program implementation to address the concern. The participants of the event are youth, program implementers, and duty bearers.

Prior to the summit, DepEd and DOH, together with the steering committee, conducted a series of consultative meetings with faith-based organizations, civil society organizations (CSOs), youth groups, and key implementers, especially the students and parents, to be fully engaged and aware of the current dilemma.

The highlight of the summit will be the link of early pregnancy to education, health, and development. DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, and NEDA Secretary Ernesto Pernia will share their views, plans, and programs on the pressing concerns.

Other partner agencies and organizations are: National Youth Commission (NYC); Commission on Higher Education (CHED); Likhaan Center for Women’s Health; YPEER Pilipinas; Save the Children Philippines (SCP); United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF); United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Reach Health Philippines; Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH); and Center for Health Solutions and Innovations (CHSI).