A man in yellow uniform calls a name. With one seat now empty, a woman carrying her child immediately takes a seat with a smile of content. Sitting next to her is another woman, holding in her arm an infant with dark curly hair, sleeping amidst the confusion. Another woman greeted her warmly, her daughter sitting on her lap. Strangers, the three of them, and mothers first of all, drawn together by fate to one place in this one time for one reason: sickness.
They have been lining up for an hour to get their children checked up. It was only 10 am and the Barangay Hall in Griño is swarmed by hundreds of people to avail the services offered by the City Hall. The sun glared in the sky promising dryness and warmth. The children feasted on cold treats from the ice cream vendor. Amidst the heat however, is the gray sky looming just ahead.
“Naabutan kasi kami ng ulan galing sa school, kaya nilalagnat sila,” Louella recounted as she held on to her children’s medicine. Her 5 year old daughter clung to her mother’s arms with her sleepy eyes while her 6 year old boy was energetic under the roofed hall overlooking the rice fields.
The dramatic change in weather seems to be taking its toll primarily on children. Louella is one of the many mothers lining up for the cold medicine. Most people lining up in the Medicine Booth brought with them their children to be checked up.
The employees of the local government unit managed to accommodate everyone in an orderly fashion. Multiple tables are lined down in the cemented ground labeled according to the services they offer and manned by at least two people all the time. Registration started as early as 8 and lasted until every single client has received what they came for.
When asked if it was hard getting the medicine, she shrugged and smiled. Mabuti naman [may ganitong event], nakakatulong sila sa mga walang masyadong kaya.
City Hall sa Barangay is a program that aims to bring the services to people rather than have them go through the trouble of availing the services elsewhere. It was launched by Mayor Lina O. Montilla in 2009 and has been visiting city’s 20 barangays on Fridays since then. They have everything from haircuts, dental check-ups, circumcisions, job programs, vaccinations, to medical check-ups where the lines never seem to stop. (Pamela Barrometro)
From January to June 2014, LGU-Tacurong’s City Hall sa Barangay had already served 4,060 residents in five barangays namely Barangay Rajah Muda, San Rafael, San Antonio, New Carmen, and Kalandagan. All city hall services are rolled out for free in every barangay for one day. The service with most number of clients is the free medical check-up and medicines with 2,400 beneficiaries. Other services include free dental check-ups, eye check-up, free livestock vaccination, distribution of vegetable seeds, and free civil registration. The legislative arm of the LGU, PNP, and Philippine Army also backs the program with free haircutting services, manicure, pedicure, ba-id, and more. Moreover, LGU PESO, in cooperation with private establishments and recruitment agencies, holds a Job Fair in each barangay.