The Regional Council for the Welfare of Children has chosen Tacurong as the most child-friendly city in Region XII under the component cities category, a proof of the city’s seriousness in putting children’s welfare to the fore of its priorities.
In a letter sent to the office of Mayor Lina Montilla last week, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Regional Director Bai Zorahayda Taja officially informed the mayor that Tacurong satisfactorily passed the regional evaluation conducted last month.
Director Taja added that by becoming the region’s most child-friendly city, Tacurong will receive a child-friendly seal plus a fifty thousand pesos cash prize. Further, the city becomes the regional entry for the National Search for the Most Child-Friendly City to be launched this month.
The city was evaluated based on its child-friendly policies and programs particularly in the areas of survival, protection, education, and development. Representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Education, and DSWD composed the regional evaluation team.
During the validation on July 27, the evaluators checked various pertinent documents such as the annual budget of the city to determine how much funds go to programs that promote the welfare of children. Evaluators also paid a visit to the police station and inspected the latter’s Women and Children’s Desk along with its records.
Three out of the twenty barangays were also subjected to ocular inspection to know the functionality of each of its Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC). The City Council for the Welfare of Children (CCWC), being allowed to submit one barangay for inspection, chose Barangay Buenaflor, which has the most functional BCPC in Tacurong. The other two barangays, Tina and Calean, were selected by the evaluators in random.
Since the education aspect of the children were given equal consideration, evaluators also inspected one of its public schools, the Tacurong National High School, to determine how far did the City Schools Division go in terms of providing quality education for all.
After a whole day validation, the evaluators and members of the CCWC headed by Mayor Lina Montilla, sat down for an exit conference. The evaluation team declared that except for some minor comments, the city had done well in almost all areas, highlighted by the education sector getting relatively the highest rating.
Nearly a month after the validation, Tacurong got the official word that it passed the evaluation and declared as the regional winner.
Mayor Montilla, who also sits as the chairperson of CCWC, hopes that the city will be able to get the national award despite strong competition anticipated to be presented by other regions.
CCWC Action Officer Nancy Bawe said that the council is making improvements based on the feedbacks offered by the regional evaluation team. “Before the national evaluation team visits our city for the validation, we hope to already make enhancements to boost our chances in the national search’, Bawe said. [Allan S. Freno]