February 1, 2023

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. highlighted the strong partnership of the provincial government with national government offices and other stakeholders in addressing concerns on children and in ensuring children’s rights to health, education and protection.

In his 2022 State of the Children’s Address (SOCA), Lacwasan enumerated child-related accomplishments in the province in response to the challenges facing children such as malnutrition, exploitation and abuse, child labor, drugs, and bullying.

“For this year, we faced challenges. Despite these concerns, I still, however, believe that we did our part. I hope then that we continue to sustain the programs and activities in our desire to make the future of our children better,” he said.

Among the accomplishments to promote the development and protection of children include the  conduct of newborn screening to 591 babies; outreach programs like feeding programs and distribution of supplies in partnership with the Mountain Province Police Provincial Office; provision in  the annual budget of  P2.9 million and P1.4M as aid to barangay health workers (BHWs) and aid to day care workers, respectively; financial assistance to 1,028 deserving college students, and  school supplies to 250 students by the Provincial SK Federation.

The governor also reported of the arrest of 21 persons for cases against children and women; provision of temporary shelter to abused women and children at the Sumyaan Center, and livelihood assistance to parents of child laborers by the Department of Labor and Employment.

There were also two ordinances passed – creating the Provincial Nutrition Division, and increasing incentives of BHWs.  

Likewise, the sangguniang panlalawigan submitted Ordinance 434 revising the Children’s Code of Mountain Province to include provisions to protect children in situations of armed conflict, and Ordinance 438, which mandates every barangay to establish a Violence Against Women’s Desk and provide mechanisms to make it operational.

In the same event, winners of the Provincial Children’s Songfest organized by the Provincial Council for the Protection of Children through the Department of Social Welfare and Development were awarded.

Natonin and Bontoc were given cash prizes for winning the duet and quartet, respectively. 

The SOCA is an annual occasion done to celebrate National Children’s Month.

This year’s theme is, “Kalusugan, kaisipan, kapakanan ng bawat bata ating tutukan.” – Valerie Taguba