Over 150 people gathered last November 28 to listen to the Zamboanga City Mayor as she delivers her State of the Children’s Report at Centro Latino, Paseo del Mar, Zamboanga City.

Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar highlighted in her speech the programs, activities, awards, and policies centered on children.

“We are proud to share that Zamboanga City is once again a recipient of the highest Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC) and Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) Desks Functionality Award – ideal for four (4) consecutive years,” Climaco said in her report. 

The mayor also highlighted that the city was able to pass the Child-Friendly Local Governance Audit (CFLGA) for 2018 in Region IX conducted by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). 

According to the report, the Local Code for Children is now on the process of major revisions which was intently deliberated in a series of meetings by the Local Council for the Protection of Children. 

Other measures include the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) Ordinance that will ensure that they will take the lead in the implementation of all children programs at the barangay level. 

Likewise, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) created the Inter-Agency Monitoring Task Force (IMTF) to monitor and evaluate the Functionality of the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children/Violence Against Women and their Children and Local Council for the Protection Children.

All of these will help reach the target that by the year 2025, the children in Zamboanga City are born healthy, registered at birth, totally developed, safe, secured and assertive of their basic rights. 

Bata Naman: Children’s Agenda for a Child-Friendly Zamboanga City

“We listen to your diverse voices and it excites me to hear of your dreams and aspirations for your fellow young people during our dialogue and consultation with you together with ADZU and UNICEF. Ya dale ustedes sabe canamon cay si dale con ustedes el opportunidad para sinta como el Alcalde del Ciudad, manada ustedes maga buen plano y programa para na maga bata (You let us know that if children were given the opportunity to be mayors of the city, you have plenty of plans and programs for the children).”

Aside from the mayor’s report, the children’s agenda was also delivered by Lea Marie Francisco a representative from the participants who took part in the 2-day workshop “Children Building Child-Friendly Cities” last November 14-15, 2019. 

Lea Marie Francisco delivered the highlights of the issues that rose in their conversations and the proposed solutions of her fellow children. 

“Naniniwala kaming mga bata na mayroon kaming maiaambag para sa lipunan. Para kay Mayor Beng at sa lahat na mga opisyal, nawa ay tanggapin ninyo ang aming hamon na gawing pangunahing prioridad ang kapakanan naming mga bata. Tunay na ang syudad na ligtas para sa aming mga bata ay tiyak na ligtas para sa lahat. Ngayong araw, kaming mga bata na mula sa ibat-ibang sektor ng lipunan ay naniniwalang sa oras na ito, bata naman,” Francisco said. 

(We, the children, believe that we have something to contribute to society. For Mayor Beng and to all officials, I hope that you will accept our challenge of making children’s welfare your priority. Truly, a city that is safe for a child is safe for everyone. Today, we the children coming from different sectors of the community believes that this time, it is children’s turn.)

The event ended with a pledge of Mayor Climaco along with city government officials from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 9,  City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). The pledge of commitment to making Zamboanga City a child-friendly city was led by Alfred Tahaji, a child representative from the 4Ps sector.  

A participatory and creative exhibit, curated by Kiko Miranda, Director of  Ateneo Center for Culture and the Arts, was also displayed during the event. The exhibit entitled “What Matters to YOU(th)?” showcased issues, questions, and activities addressing children and youth’s welfare. 

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