In recognition of the Local Government Units’ (LGUs) best practices in literacy and nongovernment organizations’ (NGOs) best literacy programs, the Literacy Coordinating Council is finally conducting the 2022 National Literacy Awards (NLA) after being postponed in 2020 due to threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the categories included in the NLA this year is the Special Award of Excellence in Literacy (SAEL) which is awarded to Hall of Fame winners that have sustained their literacy programs for at least three years.
The City of Balanga won first place in the Outstanding Local Government under the Independent/Component City category in 2012, 2014, and 2016 and was inducted as a Hall of Fame winner in the 2017 National Literacy Conference, hence, its nomination to the Special Award of Excellence in Literacy.
As a nominee of SAEL, Balanga City has been subjected to an onsite validation from June 6-10, 2022. Members of the Board of Judges consist of Mr. Edicio G. Dela Torre, Chairperson of the Education for Life Foundation, also Chairman of the Board, Mr. Zaldy I. Masangkay, Division Chief of the DILG-BLGD, and Ms. Ma. Teresita M. Tetangco, consultant of the Municipality of Pulilan. They were joined by the LCC NLA coordinators Ms. Jonnabel D. Escartin and Ms. Ma. Teresita C. Manlolo. The validation started with a briefing about Balanga City and its literacy programs, participated by Mayor Francis Anthony S. Garcia, Schools Division Office of Balanga City through the leadership of Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) Dr. Ronnie S. Mallari, the City Education and Excellence Development Office (CEEDO) personnel, and various division and program heads of the City of Balanga.
During the orientation, Balanga City Mayor Francis Anthony S. Garcia highlighted the city’s strategic vision of “SMART University Town by 2030,” which envisions producing 10,000 graduates by the year 2030. This commitment is institutionalized through ordinances, resolutions, and executive orders as well as the inclusion of various literacy programs and projects in the city’s annual budget.
Some of the notable best practices of the city include various sectors such as education, livelihood and employment, agriculture and environmental protection, as well as disaster risk reduction. The use of information and communication technology has also been an outstanding feature of Balanga City’s literacy programs. The participation of youth and barangay officials is also significant in the implementation and success of the city’s barangay literacy programs.
Balanga City’s literacy programs have not only been sustained but have been expanded and adapted during the pandemic to address more urgent needs of their constituents. Their strong partnership with various NGOs and private corporations has also contributed to the sustainability of the city’s literacy programs.
Results of the onsite validation for the Special Award of Excellence in Literacy, including the regular search for Outstanding LGU and Outstanding Literacy Program categories are yet to be announced during the conduct of the 2022 NLA Awarding Ceremonies in October. Through the conduct of the National Literacy Awards, the Literacy Coordinating Council hopes to engage and motivate not only local government units but also individuals, organizations, and institutions to boost their literacy efforts through recognition of their best practices.
Jonnabel D. EscartinTechnical Assistant II