Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is the country’s lone representative to the four-day Fast-Track Cities 2019 Conference at the Barbican Centre in London, England.
She is one of the nine city and municipal officials serving as panelists during the “High-Level Panel on Health Inequalities,” which signaled the opening of the conference.
“It was a privilege to have been one of the panelists at the High-Level Discussions on Health Inequalities and talked about how to ensure we are not leaving anyone behind in providing services to our people, particularly the discriminated and stigmatized,” the mayor said.
Belmonte also earned the distinction of being the only Asian mayor selected to talk on drug policy reform at the high-level session.
Organized by the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and other partners, Fast-Track Cities 2019 is the first international gathering of more than 300 cities that are accelerating their responses to human immunodeficiency virus, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis.
”I’m looking forward to this great opportunity to learn from the institutions all over the world in helping address the issue of HIV and to share our insights with the international community,” the mayor said.
During her time as vice mayor and presiding officer of the 37-member city council, Belmonte ushered in the passage of an ordinance on age-appropriate HIV education, believing it is the best way to remove the stigma on HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome victims.
Moreover, she initiated a massive education and awareness campaign, especially among high school students, about the dangers of HIV and how to prevent them.
Meanwhile, Belmonte is urging women to go into business following a partnership with Spark! (Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran) and the Embassy of New Zealand.
Called the Aspiring Women Entrepreneur Bootcamp (AWEB), the project wants to empower women, especially solo parents, to venture into business.
The program is also providing financial literacy lectures, workshops on how to establish businesses and micro-business capitalization for its beneficiaries.
Also, in line with Mayor Belmonte’s good governance thrust, local officials from the city’s 142 barangays recently went through a three-day seminar on financial management, which was facilitated by the Barangay and Community Relations Department and conducted by the Commission on Audit.
Village officials are expected to submit more organized financial reports after the seminar.