Celso brings Xmas cheers to abandoned kids, elderly PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 22 December 2012 14:09

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday morning made the rounds of the different orphanage centers in the city and brought the Christmas cheers to more than 400 abandoned children, elderly wards and staff.

Backed by a convoy loaded with assorted food items and Christmas presents, Lobregat motored to Barangay Talon-Talon for his traditional gift-giving to the wards and staff of the Home for the Elderly, which is jointly managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD) and the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites.

The facility is home to 46 elderly wards (17 males and 29 females), who are being taken care by a 16-man staff and volunteers headed by Nenita Cartagenas.

From the elderly, Lobregat proceeded to the Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC), also in Talon-Talon. The center takes care of 50 abandoned children ages 0-11 years; 8 of them are below one-year-old, 19 were voluntarily surrendered, 2 dependents, 2 neglected, 2 victims of human trafficking and a six-year-old
victim of sexual abuse.

As of this date, the RSCC was able to discharge 50 other abandoned children, 5 of them through inter-country adoption, 38 were reunited with their families, 2 under foster care, 2 died and 1 was transferred to another facility.

The RSCC is managed by the Foundation for the Development of Children, Inc. headed by former mayor Engr. Efren Arañez as president. Lobregat and District 1 Rep. Beng Climaco-Salazar are honorary members of Board of Directors.

From Talon-Talon, the mayor’s convoy went to the “Akay Kalinga” located in front of the Zamboanga City West Central School and managed by a non-government foundation of Claretian priest Fr. Angel Calvo. It houses 60 abandoned children ages 7-17 with four staff headed by Loida Sapalo.

Also recipients of Lobregat’s Christmas gifts were the 57 abandoned children and 10 staff of the city government’s Social Development Center (SDC) in Sta. Barbara. Of the number, 2 were victims of child abuse, 41 street children, solvent users and mendicants, and 2 others in-conflict with the law.

Also sharing the Christmas cheers with the SDC children were the 25 wards and 10 staff of the adjacent Women Crisis Center, another facility of the local government through the City Social Welfare and Development.

To recall, Lobregat visits these same orphanage centers for gift-giving at least twice a year; first, on or before his birthday in March and the second is during Christmas. The wards received food packs, juice drinks, t-shirts and caps (with toys for the kids) plus a supply of rice, milk powder and tonic drink, diapers, noodles (bihon), canned sardines and many other items.

Joining the mayor were Councilors Myra Paz Abubakar, Nonong Guingona, Gerky Valesco and Luis Biel together with CSWDO officer-in-charge Evelyn Las Marias and her staff. Also with them were Art Onrubia, BG Guingona and Tito Espiritusanto.

Meanwhile, Councilor Abubakar’s daughter, Kimi, also shared some Christmas gifts to the RSCC and Home for the Elderly wards. — Vic Larato