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PIA Press Release

Guv vows continued support for ECCD program

by Rizalie A. Calibo

Siquijor (27 February) -- Siquijor Provincial Governor Orlando A. Fua recently vowed to continue giving support to the Early Childhood Care Development (ECCD) project in the province.

Recognizing ECCD as the core element of government programs for children, the governor said the provincial government has been allotting a yearly counterpart of P500,000 as its significant contribution to the program.

Launched in 2004, the ECCD program in Siquijor will end this year. The total ECCD fund for the program in Siquijor is P20.625M plus the annual contributions from the Council for the Welfare of Children and the provincial government.

In a meeting held recently, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Thomas S. Villarubia bared some salient activities the Provincial Council for the Welfare and Protection of Children (PCWPC) and the Provincial ECCD Coordinating Council (PECCDCC) jointly made for the program.

He said that for this first quarter of last year, the councils conducted advocacy campaign for barangay captains provincewide on anti-trafficking in persons act; ocular visit of OPTIONS staff with Liliane Foundation Philippines; proram implementation review in Dumaguate City; and sponsored medical examinations/identification and consultations of disabled children by medical specialists invited by OPTIONS.

In the second quarter, another medical consultations and training of parents on home-based physical and occupational therapy was held in Dumaguete City for the towns of Siquijor and Enrique Villanueva where 38 children were examined and 35 parents were oriented and trained.

During the third quarter, some PCWPC and MCWPC members attended seminar on the role of LGUS in the implementation of RA 9344 (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act) focusing on early detection, prevention and intervention of juvenile delinquency in Cagayan de Oro. Training of newly-appointed day care workers on the revised day care manual was also conducted.

The last quarter of last year was spent on the conduct of Provincial Day care children's contest in Maria, Siquijor; advocacy on child-related laws in Siuqijor town; regional day care children's contest in Cebu City; consultation conference of provincial day care workers federation presidents; validation interview by the Council for the Welfare of Children to provincial and assistant ECCD coordinators; focused group discussions with PECCDCC and MECCDCC members; and training for service providers in handling of children in conflict with the law and children victims of trafficking.

The ECCD is part of government's efforts of securing a bright and healthy future for Filipino children. The President herself demonstrated her commitment for the welfare of children during her countryside visits as part of her efforts to make the gains made under her administration trickle down to the grassroots.

Earlier, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo urged local government units to work closely with national government to soften the impact of the global crisis.

Citing the critical role local officials play in building up the economy, the President urged the country's vice mayors to work hand-in-hand with the national government to ensure economic development.

Addressing the 18th National Convention of the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines held at the Pryce Plaza Hotel here, the President said that while the country has been able to weather the global financial turmoil thus far, "it is not the time for laying back but rather to step up to the challenge and work hard to ensure the nation's bright economic future.

"Let us work together to ensure that our nation's finite though larger resources are able to meet the objective of improving the lives of the people of your constituencies and the entire Philippines," the President said.

Pointing out that success can only be achieved through real team effort, the Chief Executive said that the national government will always do its part in protecting the interests of the people especially during these trying economic times, while relying on the local governments to step up and seize the opportunities that her administration has created.

"Working together, we have created a better deal, if you will, than many countries in the region, which have not yet devolved power to the local governments, " she said.

Likewise, the President asked the vice mayors to continue investing more of their municipal revenues in the future of local government units (LGUs).

"The sum total of all that is the nation's future," she said. The President said the various programs of the government have successfully bore fruit through the support of the local officials.

"The local governments have helped build our economy's reputation as 'an island of stability' in an otherwise stormy global sea of economic troubles. You have played a crucial part in the country's impressive growth," she said.

The President also urged the local officials to spend their internal revenue allotment (IRA) wisely.

At present, she said, the local governments are enjoying the biggest increase of their IRA -- P40-billion in all, owing to the three-year lag in the computation of the LGUs' share of the Expanded Valued Added Tax (VAT) from 2006.

"The IRA is your primary tool to serve your constituencies. Used it correctly, it will go a long way towards ensuring that our people will get the kind of local government they want," she said.

The President thanked the local government officials for their full support for her administration, saying "your commitment to the economy of your constituencies and to the economy of the Philippines... will continue to pay dividends for many years to come." (PIA) [top]

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