The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) Region IV-A CALABARZON together with Regional Line Agencies (RLAs) DSWD, DepED, DILG, and DOH conducted the online Regional Inception Meeting for The Challenge Initiative (TCI) Philippines Program in Biñan City on August 31, 2021 via Zoom.

The Challenge Initiative is implemented by POPCOM together with the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which aims to reduce adolescent pregnancies in urban areas and address adolescent fertility by incorporating a learning, mentoring and integrating process in LGUs’ plans and programs related to Adolescent Health and Development (AHD), a major program component of the Philippine Population and Development Program (PPDP).

Biñan City which recently expressed its interest in participating in the said program was fortunately accepted last June 2021 joining nine (9) other cities which are now called TCI Scale-up Cities all over the Philippines.

Honorable Mayor Walfredo “Arman” R. Dimaguila, Jr. will lead the TCI Program in the city together with TCI City Team composed of the Sanguniang Panglungsod members and other identified stakeholders (City Health Office, City Social Welfare and Development Office, Department of Education Division of Biñan, City Population Office, Local Youth Development Office, Gender and Development Office, and many more).  

This Inception meeting aimed to: (1) describe TCI program including its goals, results framework and program;  (2)  identify the role of POPCOM and the regional line agencies and possible working structure in the region;  and  (3)  agree on the activities for program implementation.

Biñan City attended the Leadership Adolescent and Youth-Friendly City (LAYFC) training last November 17, 24 and 26, 2021.  The LAYFC is an executive leadership and governance training program that has been designed for city mayors, local chief executives or the city leadership team, barangay leaders and youth group leaders.  The aim is to help local leaders to develop more responsive leadership and governance systems for the immediate reduction of teenage pregnancy rates.  Anchored on ZFF’s Bridging Leadership framework, the LAYFC program has designed different but complementary training tracks build “adolescent and youth-friendly cities” and strengthen intersectoral collaboration and encourage the involvement of the community and youth leaders.

In October, 2021, after the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing between POPCOM IV-A and the City of Biñan, POPCOM Central Office through POPCOM IV-A transferred through trust fund Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (P 300,000.00) for the TCI project in Biñan. 

Biñan City also underwent city level assessments as well as coaching and mentoring process of TCI City Team for the succeeding months towards the implementation of high impact and sustainable mechanisms to reduce adolescent birth rate in the city.