DAGUPAN CITY – The city is vying for another national award following its inclusion among four other cities to be shortlisted for the National Literacy Award under the Independent Component City category.

This is the first time the city was included among those competing for the national level award after being adjudged as regional awardee for the second time since 2016.

Conducted biennially by the Department of Education (DepEd) through its Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC), the NLA aims to recognize contributions made by government and non-government organizations in the universalization of literacy in the country.

These include the best practices in literacy which help alleviate socioeconomic issues in the communities such as poverty and welfare needs.

The local government has launched several initiatives over the years that  addressed literacy problems in the city.

One major project launched under Mayor Belen T. Fernandez is the college scholarship program in the city. Since its implementation in 2013, the number of MBTF scholars had dramatically increased from 50 in 2013 to present totaling to at least 1,565 MBTF scholars. To date, the city is funding at least 1,345 scholars and have already produced 220 graduates, with 11 among them passing the state board.

Another project is the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program where the city already  produced at least 973 ALS completers from 2014 to 2016.

Project B.E.L.E.N. (Better Education for Livelihood ad Employment Needs) was also launched to provide technical skills training to more than 500 individuals, including ALS completers, as means to enhance their probability of securing employment.

Other programs launched for the advancement of literacy in the city include the Children’s Summit, BTF DOES IT program, learning programs by city departments and infrastructure programs such as the construction of new school buildings, the Library Hub, Women’s Center and Teen Center among others.

All these were presented by Mayor Belen T. Fernandez before validators during a document review held at the Star Plaza Hotel on August 9.

“Every year, I see children wanting to study, and parents who are so happy to see their children finish college. They serve as inspiration for me to continue building and making these programs. In Dagupan City, literacy is not all about writing or reading. This is about enabling them to have better lives in the future. And I believe that this is the right time for me to start these programs, so that those who will succeed after me can continue to sustain them, ” said Fernandez.

As part of their assessment, the LCC validators conducted an evaluation of the city’s literacy programs and an ocular inspection of infrastructure projects the following day.

Dagupan is competing against Naga City, Bayugan City, Panabo City and Santiago City for the Outstanding LGU Award of the NLA. The results will be announced during the National Literacy Conference and Awards. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)