TAWI-TAWI — A team from the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) conducted on Saturday, Oct. 30, a review of the midterm work plan of UNICEF’s country program for children in Tawi-Tawi province.
According to Amina Lim, UNICEF communications for development officer, UNICEF is in the process of reviewing its 5-year (2019-2023) rolling work plan with the different ministries of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) based on its priority programs that included water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), health, nutrition, education, self-protection, and governance.
Saturday’s meeting focused on how UNICEF could further align their priorities with those of the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) of Tawi-Tawi for the next three to five years, in terms of coordination and complementation.
Also tackled was the safe return of the school children from the modular approach learning into the face-to-face class instruction as the national government plans for the pilot reopening of classes in areas less affected by Covid -19 pandemic.
Yvan Tarong, UNICEF WASH-in-Schools officer, said BARMM could not yet avail the pilot reopening of face-to-face (F2F) classes on November 15 since it was not included in the national government’s list.
However, he said UNICEF is working with Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE) to finalize the guidelines on the readiness of schools in the region, and as soon as these guidelines have been set and approved by BARMM, then the region would propose to the national government for inclusion some selected schools in the five provinces for the F2F classes.
Dr. Aldrin Damming, alternate planning officer of MBHTE-Tawi-Tawi, said that parents of school children in the province have different perspectives in regards to the reopening of classes. Some fear the risk of the Covid -19 pandemic for their children and some favored the reopening of classes saying that modular learning approach is expensive and learning is less effective compared to physical attendance in school.
Meanwhile, Rohannie Datumanong, UNICEF child protection specialist, disclosed that UNICEF conducted a joint program with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) on the assessment and birth registration of about 287 Sama-Badjao in Barangay Lamion, Bongao Municipality, to ensure that each of them gets correct entry of their birth registration in the local civil registrar as part of child protection.
Board Member Abduljamil Ishmael, PLGU representative, said that Tawi-Tawi has always attuned to the programs undertaken by UNICEF in the province especially on children’s education. He said that the provincial government has assisted MBHTE-Tawi-Tawi and other schools in the province on their modular learning method in terms of financial and material support during the pandemic.
As UNICEF’s continuous commitment to support the COVID -19 protection in BARMM, it has allocated Php35-million to BARMM for its Integrated Provincial Health Offices (IPHOs) to intensify their vaccination sessions in the municipalities according to their micro plans.
UNICEF team was on a 2-day visitation to Tawi-Tawi including a visit to the Rural Health Unit of Languyan Municipality on October 31. (Bangsamoro Information Office)
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