DAGUPAN CITY – Balon Dagupan makes another history!

After a promising feat as three-time national finalist and four-time most child-friendly city in the Ilocos region, the city of Dagupan was adjudged as the country’s most child-friendly city under the Independent Component City category this year.

Dagupan City was ranked the highest among other top local government units, besting Naga City, Ormoc City and Cotabato City, the other contenders in the independent component city category following an evaluation and on-site validation conducted by the National Awarding Committee sometime last October.

The 2017 Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Municipalities and Cities (PACFMC) award was conferred by President Rodrigo Duterte during the Gawad Parangal held at the Heroes Hall in the Malacañang Palace on December 5.

He was joined by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary and Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) Chairperson Rolando Bautista and CWC Executive Director Mary Mitzi Cajayon-Uy.

Receiving the award for LGU Dagupan headed by Mayor Belen T. Fernandez were Liga ng mga Barangay President Dean Bryan Kua, Liga Vice President Marcelino Fernandez, DILG City Director Melinda Buada, Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Lorna Bugayong of the City Schools Division Office (SDO) Dagupan, CSWDO chief Leah Aquino, City Health Officer Dr. Ophelia T. Rivera, City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) chief Engr. Josephine Corpuz, Barangay Captain Teresa Coquia of Caranglaan, Barangay Captain Julita Perez of Pantal and CPDO Project Evaluation Officer II Natacia Dizon.

Projects and best practices of the city government realized through the initiative of Mayor Belen T. Fernandez that contribute to the CWC’s goal towards a Child-Friendly Philippines were recognized during the search.

These include the MBTF scholarship program, Children’s Summit on Health, Music and Journalism, free late registration of births, the “Manlingkor Ya Kalangweran” leadership training program, Junior Health Advocate, the Balon Dagupan Children’s Choir, youth and sports development, the Anti-Bullying hotline, among many others.

“This is a testament to our Unliserbisyo commitment in making sure our Dagupeño children remain the safest, healthiest and happiest in our city. Our children are our true source of indescribable joy. We continue to work harder to pursue these programs because we believe that a city that takes care of its children, takes care of the future,” said Mayor Fernandez.

Aside from the Presidential trophy, Dagupan also received P500,000 cash prize, which will be utilized for the continuous implementation of child-friendly programs in the city.

In the same occasion, the city also received a plaque and another P50,000 cash for being one of the 20 national finalists selected from 17 regions throughout the country.

This is in addition to the P15,000 already received by the city when Dagupan was conferred as the Most Child-Friendly City in the region.

The PACFMC is a national recognition conferred to deserving LGUs for their vital roles in ensuring a child-friendly local governance in their respective communities.

It is spearheaded by DSWD through the CWC, an agency that aims to institutionalize and sustain a child-friendly environment through the promotion of children’s welfare and rights. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)