With the vision of a Child-friendly Community of Magallanes, our municipality continuously implements policies, programs, projects and activities that would promote and protect children’s rights believing that every single child in our community must have a holistic and a wholesome opportunity for growth and development. Yes, our thrust on children’s welfare is a priority development agenda. They are the future human capital of our municipality, thus we should invest on them.
As we celebrate this year’s children’s month, with the theme “Karapatang Pambata: Patuloy na Pahalagahan at Gampanan Tungo sa Magandang Kinabukasan” I would like to share with you the results of our concerted efforts in the promotion and protection of children’s rights.
First, on the right of children to participate:
The Municipal Children’s Code provides that our local government continuously promote the rights and welfare of our children. In order to sustain the past initiatives that we have started, we have held a municipal-wide Children’s Congress last Oct. 29-30. Forty-four (44) school child-leaders and 17 child-representatives from the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) participated in this breakthrough activity. In the Congress, the children were given the opportunity to experience different activities geared towards obtaining their sentiments and opinions regarding children’s situations and their own development. The results of this first-ever Congress have been eye-opening experiences as they are amazing and wonderful.
Second, on their right to development:
In the core of this right is the implementation of development programs designed to increase and expand the delivery of basic services with emphasis on education benefits and opportunities especially for the children.
At present, we have 36 fully functioning child development centers (CDC) with 878 children enrolled this year. The LGU-run National Child Development Center (NCDC) has 51 children enrolled. Three private preschools, namely the Magallanes Baptist Christian School, Magallanes Nazarene Preparatory School and Fountain of Joy Christian School have their own enrolment figures.
We are in close collaboration with the DepEd. Aside from their K to 12 curriculum, DepEd consistently implements programs to enhance the skills, talents and abilities of the children through various activities such as Nutrition Month Celebration, Buwan ng
Wika, United Nations month, Reading Month Celebration, sports development, GSP and BSP Camporees, among others. Furthermore, the Magallanes North Central School has a SPED or special education class for special children and children with disabilities.
To support and impact our CDCs, 36 child development workers (CDWs) were capacitated through the Training Workshop on National Early Learning Curriculum and New Accreditation Standards, conducted last February 19-22, 2019. In addition, they regularly hold cluster meetings and workshop to further improve their capacity and skills in handling CDC enrolled-children.
Third, on the right to survival:
Ensuring the survival of infants is an utmost concern of the local government unit. We have made strides in this field. On mortality of infants, from 8 cases in 2017 there were 3 cases 2018 which shows a significant decrease. On child mortality rate, there were 4 cases in 2017 and this went down to 2 cases in 2018. Finally, on maternal mortality rate, for both 2017 and 2018, there was only one case each.
On nutrition, the prevalence of underweight, wasting and stunting among 0-59 month old children in the municipality has steadily been decreasing. From 514 underweight children we now have 375; from 226 wasted we now have 117 and from 854 stunted children we now have 824. We hope to sustain this trend.
The school-based immunization program implemented by our RHU has benefitted 7,285 elementary pupils who received Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV) and Tetanus Diphtheria Vaccine (Td) while 698 infants aged 0-11 months were also vaccinated during barangay visits on this current year.
Enhancing the survival right of children are also conducted through the advocacy on facility-based birthing and exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months, giving instructions to children eligible for PPD -Purified Protein Derivative (skin test), Vitamin A and iron supplementation, deworming of Kindergarten, elementary and high school students, tooth brushing drills of day care children, dental check-ups and mass fluoride application in all barangays, Oplan check-up, an awareness campaign in the form of a Buntis Congress, and the on-going information campaign on dengue.
Behind these enhancing survival-right programs are our 157 Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) and 42 Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) who provide assistance to professional health personnel, particularly midwives during health care activities in the barangays.
Meanwhile, the Municipal Civil Registrar’s office supplements these programs by initiating a Free Birth Registration of all identified children-clientele. We believe that every born child must have a proper registered name.
Children with disabilities are served under the People with Disabilities (PWD) program of the Office of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development (MSWDO). So far,70 PWD children have benefited. Children with disabilities were provided with wheelchairs, prosthesis and eye glasses. Some were given eye evaluation referrals. Children enrolled in the special education classes of the North Central School were granted a P500 monthly allowance to support the regular attendance of the children in classrooms. In addition 87 students in Grades 7 and 8 underwent eye screening while 53 students in Grades 11 and 12 attended an LGU sponsored mental health orientation in Caditaan National High School.
There were also a total of 135 children served by Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program through medical, burial, transportation and subsistence assistance.
Fourth, on the right to protection.
This year, we have recorded 5 cases of abuse committed against children: two were cases of acts of lasciviousness and three were cases of rape. Meanwhile, the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children recorded two children at risk – one case of bullying and one case of trespassing plus three children in conflict with the law.
In these cases of children in need of special protection, children at risk and children in conflict with the law, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) provided counselling together the PNP-Women and Children Protection Desk Officer. MSWDO confers with parents to orient them with the necessary procedures prior and during case filings. Assistance is also provided for subsistence and transportation.
Fully aware that an effective advocacy campaign will impact on barangay officials, the Local Government Unit has initiated a series of capability building seminar workshops on child protection laws and regulation. Some 251 attendees from the different Barangay BCPCs as well as representations from the municipal DepEd Child Protection Committees were oriented on these topics. There were six batches in all.
As a risk reduction endeavour, our Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) regularly conducts orientations and drills in the various elementary schools to ensure a basic knowledge on how to mitigate risks and casualties during human-induced and natural disasters. The MDRRMO is usually assisted by the Municipal Emergency Response teams and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
As for the future, we fervently hope that our Magaya-gayang Magallanes, will become a beacon of encouragement for all to continually create opportunities and innovations for the promotion and protection of Children’s Rights.
I ask for your cooperation and participation as we continue fulfilling our vision, mission and goals for our children. We must strive to:
- Strengthen advocacy for facility-based delivery and exclusive breastfeeding of infants;
- Improve the delivery of health, nutrition dental services to children;
- Address and further lower the prevalence of malnutrition among children 0-59 months old;
- Provide technical assistance in the functionality of BCPC, including the establishment of barangay reading, play and recreational areas;
- Ensure the accreditation of the majority of CDCs, thereby increasing the percentage coverage of children aged 3-4 years old provided with early childhood care and development services;
- Capacitate our child-leaders and advocates;
- Ensure high percentage of birth registration;
- Decrease the percentage of early pregnancy.
We will further ensure that all policies and plans will be responsive to the emerging needs of diverse groups of children – from birth to infants, toddlers, school aged as well as those out-of-school children, malnourished children, children with disabilities, child laborers, neglected and abused children, children at risk, and children in conflict with the law.
Indeed this will be a tough undertaking. However, if we all pool our commitments, our efforts, we can make things much better for children. We must remember that if we invest in our children, we invest in our future. Our children today will be our future – the future of our municipality, of our society and of our world. So let us all help mould our children into the best individuals who will eventually share in the task of nation building and making a difference in this world.
Thank you and God bless Magallanes!