MABALACAT CITY— The local government here under the leadership of Mayor Crisostomo Garbo has underscored the successful implementation of various child-centered programs and services in anticipation of a ‘better normal’ for every Mabalaqueño youth.

In his 2021 State of the Children’s Address (SOCA) held November 17, 2021, at Royce Conference Hall in Clark Freeport, Mayor Garbo said that the Mabalacat City Government (MCG) has expanded its child support mechanisms by mobilizing all concerned city government offices despite the insurmountable impacts of the pandemic.

The local chief executive highlighted the commencement of the city’s comprehensive Pediatric Vaccination Program where MCG tapped various public and private schools to ease the implementation of the vaccination drive. He added, “we were able to provide pandemic services to the children’s sector with 2,657 individuals investigated, quarantined, tested, isolated, and treated.”

Garbo also said that the local government has been getting the attention of the national government for its efficient and effective COVID-19 response and vaccination in Central Luzon.

Meanwhile, the city mayor placed high importance on early childhood care manifested by the institutionalization of the Early Childhood Care and Development Office, its structures, mechanisms, and services all aimed for the holistic development of children at the early stage.

One of its flagship services is the implementation of Center-Based Program Implementation in Alternative Venues or CBPAV, a program aimed to assist children and parent-mentors in home-based learning while Child Development Centers remain closed.

Another is the continued operation of the Mabalacat City Drop-In Center for Women and Children (MCDIC) or the “purple house” which currently houses 22 individuals classified as children at risk, children in need of special protection, or children in conflict with the law.

“Amid the pandemic, the facility [MCDIC] has continuously provided a sundry of support services, temporary shelter, educational and livelihood opportunities to individuals, particularly those whose security and safety was compromised due to certain circumstances,” Garbo said.

Among other notable accomplishments of the Garbo administration mentioned in the public address are the implementation of the “Adopt a Family”, NutriPack, and Tutok Kainan program providing food sustenance to thousands of families and children; the enactment of DepEd’s Child Protection Policy in all schools in the city; and the continuous provision of basic health and social services to children in the grassroots level.

The city has also fulfilled the Pagsasarili Family Care Center Program with six (6) facilities groomed to pilot a sundry of educational and social services in partnership with Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and OB Montessori Foundation. Garbo said that all facilities will “provide utility, housing, and other social services, including learning opportunities and livelihood programs all aimed to uplift the lives of our brothers and sisters in the indigenous communities”.

Furthermore, the MCG has also extended basic health and nourishment services to Mabalaqueño families, children, and pregnant women. These include 1,765 prenatal and post-partum consultations; 4,900 Family Planning couple-beneficiaries; 620 children exclusively breast-fed; 7,275 beneficiaries under the National Immunization Program; 141 young Mabalaqueños treatment under the Anti-Tuberculosis program; over 26,000 children immunized against Measles-Rubella-Oral Polio; 14,533 children immunized against Measles-Rubella-Tetanus Diphtheria; 20,000 children receiving Vitamin A and Iron Folic Acid supplementation; 3,770 children treated for Diabetes Mellitus and Hypertension; 72,011 children availed community-based deworming services; 2,137 infant and pediatric medical consultations; and 133 laboratory examinations to pregnant women.

Mayor Garbo also disclosed that the city government garnered a satisfactory 80% rating as an outcome of the Child-Friendly Local Governance Audit held in March 2020. Moreover, Mabalacat City was also chosen by the National Council for the Welfare of Children as one of the pilot LGUs on the localization of the Philippine Plan of Action to End Violence Against Children.

“We have accomplished all of these while we are in the midst of a global health crisis. Tuluy-tuloy po tayo sa ating daan patungo sa “Bayung Mabalacat”, kung saan lahat ay kasama at walang maiiwan,” the mayor said.

“Lahat ng ginagawa ng Mabalacat City Government sa kasalukuyan ay para sa ikabubuti at ika-aangat ng ating mga kabataan sa ‘better normal’. Sa ating mga kawani ng lokal na pamahalaan at sa ating mga medical frontline workers, I doff my hat to all of you, our modern-day heroes,” Garbo added.

Garbo’s SOCA was delivered before the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod headed by Vice Mayor Gerald Aquino, city government department heads and employees, officials from the barangay, and the general public via Mabalacat City News Facebook premiere.

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