IN a remarkable achievement, the City Government of Naga has once again been honored with the Seal of Child-Friendly Local Governance. The recognition, bestowed for its exemplary practices documented during the 2022 Child-Friendly Local Governance Audit, was officially announced on November 14, 2023.
Mayor Nelson Legacion, during his State of the Children Report on November 18, expressed pride in maintaining an unbroken record of six consecutive years, starting in 2016, as a Child-Friendly City. Mayor Legacion credited the city’s commitment, stating, “This only shows that in Naga, it is the children who are indeed special.”
Naga’s dedication to child welfare has not only resonated within the Philippines but has also garnered international acclaim. City Administrator Elmer Baldemoro, representing Naga at the Child-Friendly Cities Forum in March 2023, shared the city’s best practices with delegates from various countries.
Mayor Legacion attributed the latest accolade to the collective efforts of the Naga City Council for the Welfare and Protection of Children and the Children’s Affairs Office. He acknowledged the crucial support from the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children and the Barangay Children’s Organization and its federation across the city’s 27 barangays.
Right to Development
The city’s commitment to education is evident in the establishment of five new schools, including an elementary school in Sitio Yabu and secondary schools in San Isidro, Balatas, Sta. Cruz, and Mabolo, currently serving 1,500 students.
Initiatives like the Bike to School program and the Quality Universal Education Empowerment in Naga (QUEEN) program, providing financial and rice subsidies to families, have positively impacted education. Cash incentives, based on Ordinance No. 2020-136, were granted to 340 children of solo parents for outstanding academic performance.
Under the Early Childhood Care and Development Division, 71 Educare Centers enroll 3,493 preschoolers, ensuring quality early education services.
The reopening of the Bicol Science and Technology Centrum in March and an educational tour in August showcased the city’s commitment to scientific knowledge and cultural awareness.
The upcoming People’s Park and Recreation Center in Barangay Mabolo, part of the city’s Comprehensive Development Plan, aims to enhance child development through playgrounds and recreational facilities.
Right to Survival
The Naga City General Hospital, set to be formally turned over on December 12, 2023, will improve maternal and child care, pediatric services, and nutrition.
Free cardiovascular surgical missions and successful immunization efforts have contributed to reducing child mortality and promoting overall health.
Right to Protection
The forthcoming Center for Safety and Resiliency, housing the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection, is poised to enhance emergency response capabilities, ensuring the safety of children.
The Children’s Training on Emergency Response and Disaster Preparedness, along with assistance to Children In Conflict with the Law (CICL) and Children at Risk (CAR), highlights the city’s commitment to protection.
Right to Participate
Naga City champions participative governance for children, giving them a voice in policymaking through the Barangay Children Organization. Child representatives actively contribute to policies, programs, and activities that safeguard their welfare.
Throughout the year, the city organized diverse events, including the Children’s Festival, Safer Internet Day, Oral Health Congress, Girl-Child Week, puppetry-making, theatre workshops, and the National Children’s Month celebrations.
Naga City’s unwavering dedication to child-friendly governance stands as a beacon, setting an exemplary standard for communities both within and beyond borders.
(Jason Neola, CEPPIO.)