ANGELES CITY -- A total of P57.8 million will be allocated in 2020 by Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. for the educational and social welfare programs of children.
Lazatin said the city government wants to secure the future of youngsters, by giving priority to programs that will cater their basic needs.
"Indeed, they are the hope of our nation. The City Government must be their bridge to assure this," he said during the State of the Children's Address (Soca) on November 29 at the Legislative Hall Building here.
The mayor added that the most important program he could do for the children is to assure that their parents have the means to sustain their needs and an adequate standard of living.
He has allocated P15 million for skills training and livelihood assistance, and P3 million for the social pension of solo parents.
The mayor added: "the free Vitamin A and C supplementation, as well as deworming vaccines on children below 7 years old will be continuous in my administration."
"Ako po mismo ang gumagawanito (I'm the one doing this). Ako po mismo ang kakatok sa bahay-bahay para masiguro lang na malusog ang bawat batang Angeleño (I'll be the one who will knock on your doors to make sure that every Angeleño kid is healthy)," he said.
Apart from this, Lazatin will build a stronger foundation to combat malnutrition among children.
The mayor said he will allocate an P8-million budget for the feeding program of daycare students in 2020, while P6.8 million will be allotted for programs for malnourished children, where the City Nutrition Office will conduct a door-to-door Oplan Timbang among children below six and will give food and milk assistance to malnourished kids for six months.
"Our city nutritionist will prepare a menu for our daycare students to make sure that they will receive the proper nutrition," he said.
For the mayor, this is also in line with the dedication of President Rodrigo Duterte to provide a national feeding program for undernourished children in the country, in accordance with Republic Act 11037, or the "Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act," which aims to "afford every Filipino child of the right to proper healthcare and nutrition benefits."
"We will aim for zero malnourishment in our City by 2022," he added.
On education, the mayor will push for day care centers which are conducive for learning.
About P12 million will be allotted for air-conditioning and television units of 76day care centers in 33 barangays, as well as P5 million for the repair of these centers.
"I also asked the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry to help us in the construction of new day care centers in the city," he shared.
The mayor said he will be true to his campaign promise to establish more courses, teachers and classrooms in the City College.
He said he is exerting efforts to re-appropriate the loan incurred by his predecessor for the construction of more classrooms for the City College, as well as new buildings and more hospital rooms for the Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center or ONA.
"Aside from this, we have allocated almost 70 percent of the Local School Board fund for the repair of elementary schools, including comfort rooms, and construction of additional classrooms for high schools," he said.
The mayor also furthered that he will review the public school programs for children with special needs in 2020, and whatever is the deficiency, he will fund it accordingly by 2021.
"I believe that children with special needs must receive more from my government," he said.
On youth offenders, the mayor strongly believes that they must be given a second chance in life and become productive members of the society.
"I will make sure that our Bahay Pag-Asa will be accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and I allocated P3 million for its operations," he said.
He vowed to make the Bahay Pag-Asa as a premier reformation center for youth offenders by implementing skills trainings, life skills and alternative learning system in cooperation with Department of Education (DepEd).
His administration will also inaugurate the Sagip Batang Solvent Reformation Center, where he allotted P5 million for its operations.
The center, when inaugurated will be co-managed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and it will be the second of its kind throughout the country.
"This is a reformation center for youth who are hooked on sniffing solvent or commonly called rugby boys," he added.
For 2020, the mayor tasked the Angeles City Anti-Drug Abuse Office to conduct a regular seminar and awareness on anti-illegal drug abuse from grades four to senior high school in both public and private schools, while the Gender and Development (GAD) Office will launch a separate awareness on anti-violence against women and children.
"I believe that aside from strict law enforcement, it is imperative that we educate our children against the ill effects of illegal drugs since one of the perils of our society is the illegal drug menace and many lives have suffered because of this plague," he said.
For the mayor, the children must be empowered on their rights as individuals and understand their basic rights, including the rights to health, education, family life, play and recreation, non-discrimination, survival and development, and right to be free from harm.
The mayor appealed to the public to join him in securing the future generations, where cooperation and understanding are the fundamental necessities to build things together.
"We must do our best for our children. At hindi po ditonagtatapos ang commitment ko para sa ating mga anak. Ang totoo, ito pa lang po ang simula ng tatlong taong paggawa," he said. (PR)