City government aids poor family in Sitio Linglingay

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The city government provided assistance to a poor family in Bulanao Norte whose story recently figured in a documentary of GMA Network.

Mayor Darwin Estrañero personally visited the family of Henry Apostol today at their home in sitio Linglingay to hand over rice and groceries as well as the birth certificates of Apostol’s four children who, until the City Civil Registrar (CCR) intervened, had not been registered with the Philippine Statistics Authority.

During their chat, the mayor learned that Apostol was a single parent to his eight children, seven of whom were minors and dependent on him, after his estrangement with his wife. The mayor recognized him as one of his workers at his palay trading business years ago and was surprised to see he has eight kids now.

Presently, Apostol works as a chicken dresser for a relative who owns a chicken business, the meager pay from which is far from enough to make ends meet.

Mayor Estrañero encouraged Apostol to formalize his residency in Tabuk to benefit from the social services offered by the city government as Apostol is originally from Isabela. “This is not about votes but because a proof of residency is one of the basic documentary requirements to avail of the services and programs of the city government,” the mayor said in Ilocano.

The local chief executive said Apostol may avail of the relocation program of the city government for informal settlers affected by the road-right of way clearing and other issues. He may also benefit from the city’s scholarship program once his children reach high school, the mayor said.

Before leaving, the mayor gave his phone number to. Apostol, telling him to call if there is anything they need. He also gave Php 2,000 to the family out of his own pocket and treated the whole family to a meal at Mang Inasal.

In an interview, Mr. Apostol expressed his gratitude to the city government for its interventions. “Agyamanak iti panangbisita yu kanyak. Agyamanak metlang kadagituy gundaway nga inted yu.” He said he would like for his family to have their own house for the sake of his little children.

Mayor Estrañero,  on his part, expressed his dismay and sadness about the situation of the family and was overheard saying “this is one of the poorest families I have encountered in an urban area of Tabuk. It’s very saddening to know we still have families struggling to make  ends meet and I hope we can help uplift them from this state of poverty.”

In mid-July, the Apostol family figured in a documentary of GMA reporter Atom Araullo about child labor, prompting various government offices to help them out from their precarious living condition.

Last July 13, the CCR led by head Lourdes Bayangan, City Social Welfare Officer  Eusebia Edubba, City Information Officer Aurora Amilig, along with profilers from the Department of Labor and Employment-Kalinga (DOLE-Kalinga) brought the Apostol family to Mallig, Isabela to process the registration of the four  children who were born there.

Upon learning of their plight, the municipal government of Mallig decided to waive the fees for their registration.

According to the CCR, having a birth certificate is vital for the Apostol children in order to have a legal identity. Being unregistered, the Apostol children had been effectively invisible in the eyes of the government, unable to enroll in school or get access to social and health services, among others.

On the same day that Apostol’s children were registered, he was signed up for a livelihood assistance worth Php 30,000 by DOLE-Kalinga under the Child Labor Prevention and Prevention Program which is being implemented since 2018. He also received food packs in initial assistance from the City Social Welfare and Development Office.

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