MABALACAT CITY -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) recently named the city government here model local government unit because of its day care services.

Mabalacat bested other 133 cities and municipalities in the region after being conferred the Gawad Paglilingkod sa Sambayanan (Gapas) award.

The DSWD cited city's commitment on the implementation of quality standard day care services with 100 percent accreditation marking for both day care centers and workers.

Local officials received the award on Friday at the Ephata Development Center in Maimpis, City of San Fernando.

The annual awarding coincides with the 66th anniversary celebration of the DSWD Region III with a theme “Sama-samang Paglilingkod ng may Malasakit”.

DSWD-Central Luzon Regional Director Gemma Gabuya said Mabalacat City has a fully functional barangay council for the protection of children (BCPC).

All of the city's villages contributed to the attainment of the department's early childhood care and development mandate for pre-school children, said Gabuya.

Joining Gabuya in the awarding ceremony are Former Regional Director Adelina Apostol and Assistant Regional Director for Operations Ardo Venus Rebuldela.

Mabalacat City Social Welfare and Development Head Josephine Basilio- Tanglao said there are 59 child development centers and one national child development center located at Sapang Biabas here.

A total of 3, 127 children ages three to four have enrolled in the day care this school year.

Tanglao said Mabalacat City is a two-time awardee of the Seal of Child Friendly City from 2015-2016.

Representatives from the DSWD national and regional department recently visited Mayor Marino Morales and conducted a surprise validation to the said centers.

"Natuwa at na-amazed sila na fully-operational at in accordance with the national standards ang mga CDCs natin. Regardless kung nasa bundok pa yan (in Monicayo), walang discrimination ang treatment namin sa kanila," Tanglao added.

Based on the evaluation, Mabalacat will compete with other top four highly-urbanized cities including Iloilo City, Baguio City and Cebu City for the national GAPAS award which will be held on February 21.

Vice-Mayor Christian Halili commended Tanglao and other personnel of CSWD for their passion and dedication in promoting social welfare.

Tanglao extended her gratitude to the city officials, Assistant CSWD Head Charlo Costales, Child Development Teacher Minerva Franada and other CSWDO staff.

The other GAPAS awardees are the cities/municipalities of Plaridel, Bulacan as the Model LGU Implementing Protective Programs and Services, Capas in Tarlac as Model LGU Implementing Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Malolos City, Bulacan as Best People’s Organization – Kapisanan at Saligan ng mga Taong may Kapansanan sa Malolos Incorporated.