The tragedy was heart-breaking. The woman had left her two young children alone at home to sell fish around the neighborhood. Her routine of leaving the children is a dangerous daily gamble but she had to: the husband does not earn enough. Five minutes later, she would hear the siren of a fire truck and frantic people carrying things. She would rush home to find their house — and her children — gone, among the victims of a deadly fire.
Her heart bleeds to leave her home, but Miss Precy, a single mother, could not help it. She had no relative or kindly neighbor to tend to her little angel, Penpen, 2, when she go to work in a government office. So she had to bring angel to work. For a while it was okay but when it became a habit, Precy’s co-workers wagged their tongues.
People like the woman in the tragic fire accident and Precy are but among the many mothers who had to balance work with caring for their babies. And it is always the babies who lose in the lack of attention by working mothers and in worst cases when fate gets cruel perish in tragedies like fire.
The Davao City Hall is putting energy to a program that would help women who had to grapple with life hampered with a young that needs care, love and attention.
Recently, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte opened another Child Minding Center in the downtown area among the first that he wanted replicated in all the barangays.
The Child Minding Center serves as shelter for 1 to 3-year-old children of working and low-income parents.
Maria Luisa Bermudo, chief of the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO), said the center will assist working parents move on to their work to earn the needed income of their families without being bothered by the safety of their little children.
While in the center, the children will be provided with early childhood development activities, according to Bermudo. From 50 to 60 children can be accommodated in the center, she said.
The Child Minding Center is the answer of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to the clamor of parents having difficulties in their work because they could not afford to hire caregivers for their children.
Services at the center are free. Social workers, caregivers and teachers attend to the children who are deposited by their parents during work hours.
HOUSE OF HOPE
The House of Hope in essence is also a child-minding center, but with a special kind of love attention needed by its wards,
Home to children with cancer, the House of Hope in Davao City is a baby of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Run by the Davao Children’s Cancer Fund, Inc. (DCCFI), House of Hope (aka Kids of Hope) operates mainly from donations.
First housed in a small space at the Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City, Kids of Hope has branched out to Tagum City and Bangkal also in Davao City.
The Davao City facility is now permanently housed in Margarita Village in Lanang donated by Mayor Duterte in 2011.
The mayor has made it a tradition to visit the center during Christmas, on his birthday and Valentine’s Day, and continues to provide funding from the local government and money raised from donations.
He had launched golf tournaments to raise funds for the center, organized dinners-for-a-cause and is known to have muscled rich friends to chip in donations. At one time, he had famous healing priest Father Fernando Suarez visit the center to pray over the children.