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Tabaco City, one of the finalists for the 2012 National Literacy Awards (NLA), welcomed the NLA evaluators on Monday for a two-day validation visit from July 23 to 24.

Among the ten national level qualifiers that were pre-screened by the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC), five were left to contend for the much-coveted NLA award as the Outstanding Local Government Unit under the component city category.

The finalists were the cities of Malaybalay (Bukidnon), Balanga (Bataan), Alaminos (Pangasinan), Tabaco (Albay) and Tuguegarao (Cagayan Valley).

The Outstanding Local Government Unit (LGU) Award is given every two years to local government units which promote literacy development and have successfully made an impact on their communities and their people’s quality of life.

LCC, an inter-agency council created pursuant to Republic Act 7165, is composed of eight member agencies – the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Philippine Normal College (PNU), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Senate Committee on Education, the House of Representatives Committee on Education, and non-government organizations that are involved in literacy education. This council serves as the overall advisory and coordinating body which provides policy and program directions for all literacy endeavors in the country.

Dr. Emelyn Libunao of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and chairman of the NLA evaluators lauded the Tabaco City Government’s teamwork with DEPED in coming up with one of the best literacy programs in the country.

With the comprehensive data from the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) and the Family Mapping Project of the DepEd, the LGU-Tabaco and the DepEd Tabaco division fought side by side in its crusade against illiteracy.

Chairman Libunao described the LGU-Tabaco’s administration as a “bottoms-up management” wherein the local government programs are anchored on the people’s needs and not on the local leaders’ perception of what is best for them.

The 2012 National Literacy Award entry of the City entitled, “Literacy: Community-based Development through Local Engagement” focuses on education as the leading strategy for human development.

These education initiatives were: (a) Love On Wheels; (b) classroom and school building project; (c) textbooks and supplementary books for day care, pre-school, elementary and secondary schools; (d) Guro Magtuturo: SEF-funded Teachers; (e) Sentrong Kabuhayan Skills Training Center; (f) Enhanced Alternative Learning System (ALS); (g) Nutri-Pan sa Pamayanan in partnership with ABS-CBN Bayan ni Juan Project; (h) Fresh Milk Feeding; (i) Training on Parent Education on Health and Youth Development with POPCOM.

Other members of the national evaluating team include Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Dr. Milagros Ibe and SEAMEO-INNOTECH Research Specialist, Dr. Ethel Agnes Valenzuela. The LCC secretariat headed by Dr. Norma Salcedo joined the NLA evaluators.

The announcement of the winners will be held at Teachers’ Camp, Baguio City on September 17 to 21, in conjunction with the celebration of the National Literacy Month.

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