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State of the Children Report (First part)

WHEN people get across the name Vigan, the things that come to their mind is heritage conservation; the kalesa, the longganiza, bibingka, burnay and the old houses.

Certainly these are treasures beyond compare. These are our cultural properties that continue to make us proud to be Bigueños! And because they are our source of pride, we have placed it upon ourselves to protect them.

Honorable Presiding Officer and Members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod; city officials; my department heads and division chiefs; representatives of NGO’s; our partners in the private sector and the academe, members of the media; fellow workers in government; beloved children of Vigan, ladies and gentlemen:

This afternoon I will speak to you, not about the unique precious culture that we collectively conserve, but fondly about….

  • The Bigueño child whose rights we strongly protect;
  • The Bigueño child whose welfare we earnestly champion;
  • The Bigueño child whose values we untiringly mould in the likeness of a responsible and God fearing citizen;
  • The Bigueño child that brings each of us joy and pride above anything else.

Each day we hear of children’s misfortunes everywhere in the world. On television, we see children pronouncing and as if pleading to us adults that their future is in our hands; telling us that health, nutrition, education and protection are their birthright!

And how many of us listen?

In recent years, we saw the coming of numerous visitors to our city to see for themselves what it is that makes Vigan universal and charming. And they leave Vigan with a cultural experience kept in their hearts. Far different from other tourist destinations where they amuse themselves at dropping coins down the cliff where children outrace each other for the catch, braving the risk of heights, the heat or the cold.

Have you heard of Muro Ami? It’s a movie, yes. Ti aktorna, ni Cesar Montano a kaguapguapo ni Vice Mayor Franz!

Muro Ami is a practice where young boys are made to engage in deep sea fishing. Ipanda ida diay taaw, ket agbatokda iti adalem nga agkalap iti ikan wenno perlas nga ilako dagiti negosiante. Can you imagine yourselves being in the same situation? And have you ever rode along the streets of Metro Manila where children of your age or even younger, knock on the car windows begging for alms? It is a pathetic sight but it’s for real!

Children have been reduced to objects of amusement, laborers and symbols of poverty and abuse. But we will never allow that to happen in Vigan. For in this historic city of ours you are our prized possessions, our source of joy and gifts from God that deserve our love and care.

And because you are these to us, this administration has cleared the way for the task of according you with a beautiful life in a beautiful city that has the lowest poverty rate among cities in Region I at .0855; an enviable community that has the lowest incidence of malnutrition in the entire region at 6.92 in both preschool children and school children categories.

To ensure the quality of education that our children receive from our public schools, we have maintained a ratio of one (1) teacher per twenty two (22) pupils and one (1) classroom per twenty one 21) pupils.

As a testament to the excellence of our daycare centers in the implementation of early childhood care and development (ECCD), one thousand six hundred and twenty six (1,626) children between the ages of three and five are enrolled in the preschool and daycare centers around Vigan.

(To be continued)