“To work for the welfare of children is to work for the best interest of all humanity.”

This is according to Tacurong City Mayor Lina O. Montilla when she delivered State of the Children Report during the conclusion of the city’s Children’s Month celebration on October 29, 2014.

Through this report, Montilla shared the LGU’s endeavors as a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The mayor, through the report, informed student leaders and out-of-school youth of the different LGU programs and policies for children. Here are some of the report’s highlights.

Health and Nutrition

The City Health Office, in partnership with DOH, also delivers interventions for health, sanitation, and nutrition. Among the recent outstanding accomplishments of the health office is the 99% coverage for measles-rubella immunization in all of Tacurong’s 20 barangays. Tacurong exceeded DOH’s 95% target coverage.

The LGU also sustains a comprehensive maternal health care program, micronutrient supplementation, breastfeeding promotion, and continuous campaign against dengue, malaria, and HIV mother-to-child transmission.

Education

For education, the LGU actively supports various development services such as the Day Care Service Program, reduction of school drop-out rate, and alternative learning systems for out-of-school youth. The LGU also provides for the construction of more school buildings and for the upgrading of children’s learning materials and equipment.

Students who belong to indigent families are also given the chance have summer jobs in the LGU through DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment of Students. The LGU earmarks P800 thousand pesos annually for SPES. In 2013, the LGU employed a total of 294 high school and college students. Salary from SPES are used for their enrolment fees.

Busog Lusog Talino

The LGU, according to Montilla’s report, engaged in public-private partnerships to implement innovative programs for children.

These programs include Busog Lusog Talino (BLT) Daily Lunch Feeding Program with Jollibee Group Foundation. BLT started in 2013 with only 4 school beneficiaries. LGU and Jollibee, with partner organizations, feed 40 undernourished children in each school. For 2014, BLT now have a total of 6 school beneficiaries. “BLT is expanding because the program has shown good results in improving pupil’s health and in uniting agencies for this cause,” said Montilla.

BLT aims to provide children with free lunch daily to improve nutritional status, boost their academic performance, and reduce drop-out.

Special project for Children in the Slum

A project for children in the slum was also implemented in 2013 through DILG’s MDG-FACES program (Millennium Development Goals-Family Based Actions for Children and their Environs in the Slum). The LGU dubbed this as Project PAGLAUM.

Project PAGLAUM has 40 children beneficiaries in Purok Onse, Poblacion. Each child’s family is called a family-partner. PAGLAUM interventions include livelihood trainings for family-partners, vegetable gardening for income and consumption, health and sanitation activities and policies, anti-illegal drugs and gambling operations, and street lights rehabilitation, among others. All this aimed at improving the living conditions of children and their families in the area.

Children with Disabilities

According to Montilla, continuous public awareness campaigns is conducted to change negative attitudes and prevailing prejudices against children with disabilities.

More so, the LGU replicated Surallah’s Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) for Persons with Disability. To do this, LGU City Social Welfare and Development Office sought the assistance of Davao Jubilee Foundation to effectively run this program. Through CBR, persons and children with disability will be provided with a package of services on prevention, recovery, and rehabilitation.

This year, LGU also created the Tacurong City Committee on Disability Affairs. This committee will especially plan for and implement initiatives on accessibility, social protection, and labor and employment for PWDs and their families.

Children in Conflict with the Law & Street Children

Kalinga sa mga Batang Lansangan is now on its third year, initiated by Hon. Psyche M. Sucaldito, is implemented in partnership with DepEd-Tacurong and PNP. The beneficiaries, through the program, are enrolled in DepEd’s Alternative Learning System. LGU-Tacurong provides for their needs while attending classes, including transportation, allowance, and school supplies. Youth beneficiaries are identified Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL), and child laborers. The LGU hopes to help these children finish their studies and obtain more decent jobs in the future.

Kalinga sa mga batang Lansangan, now on its third year, was institutionalized in January 2014. It was also accredited as a community-based literacy and preventive intervention program.

Livelihood, skills and capability training activities are also conducted for out-of-school youth in partnership with Tacurong City Police Station, TESDA, DOLE, and the religious sector.

LGU also intensifies its campaign against child trafficking and gender-based violence. Various sectors are tapped to strengthen policy implementation and enforcement.

“We still have a long way to go. We should never stop. The real achievement is on how we can sustain and translate child-friendly programs into concrete actions,” said Montilla as she ended her report.

“Mas maayo man nga sa aton nga mga ginahimo, isali naton ang mga kabataan kag hatagan sila sang boses para sa pagpaayo pa guid sang aton mga programa,” she added.

2014 Children’s Month Celebration carries the theme “Bata Kasali Ka, Ikaw ay Mahalaga”. (LGU Tacurong City Information)