Caloocan City Mayor Dale Gonzalo “Along” Malapitan welcomed United States of America (USA) Second Gentleman Mr. Douglas Emhoff and the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) officials during the Healthy and Safe Back to School program held at Gregoria De Jesus Elementary School, on Monday, November 21.
In a short speech, Mayor Along expressed his appreciation to the United States government in their unwavering support in disease prevention and awareness campaigns, most especially in the city’s COVID-19 response, as well as combating tuberculosis and other diseases.
“We warmly welcome all of our visitors to the humble City of Caloocan. I am deeply grateful to our national and international partner agencies for their unwavering support to our endeavors, most importantly in keeping our people and children safe from communicable diseases,” he said.
“When COVID-19 hit the Philippines, our city government acted swiftly to mitigate the problem. It has been a difficult path, several challenges arose, but nonetheless, our children and our teachers persevered,” the Mayor added.
Likewise, the Second Gentleman of the United States, Mr. Douglas Emhoff, ensured continuous support to the Philippines in fighting COVID-19, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases to keep schools open. In addition, Mr. Emhoff led the ceremonial turn over of hygiene kits to the city government and the students.
“The United States is so proud to support the Philippines in its fight against COVID-19 and tuberculosis. I am looking forward in continuing the partnership between our countries and working together to keep our communities safe and healthy and our schools open,” Mr. Emhoff said.
He likewise announced the pledge of $5 million to strengthen and augment the country’s vaccination efforts.
“The United States and USAID will remain as your strong partners in attaining our shared goal for a more healthier and prosperous Philippines. We have hygiene kits for our students aside from these, the Philippines will receive five million dollars to support its vaccine roll out,” the Second Gentleman stated.
Department of Health (DOH) Officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire vowed to ensure the health and safety of children in schools and that the DOH is closely working with the Department of Education (DepEd) and local government units to promote health education amid the full implementation of face-to-face classes.
“Our future lies in the brilliance of today’s children, which is why it is imperative that the same whole-of-society approached is maximized to transform our schools and communities, ensuring the health and safety of our learners and well-being of our children,” DOH OIC Vergeire said.
Furthermore, Mayor Along expressed his deep gratitude to the US government for helping Caloocan be a safer and healthier community for the youth.
“Once again, I am truly grateful for your support. We will strive and continue to work together in providing a pleasant, safe, and healthy city for our children — ensuring that they will have all opportunities necessary to succeed in life,” he said.
Present also during the said event is USAID Deputy Chief of Mission Ms. Heather Variava, USAID Mission Director Mr. Ryan Washburn, Acting Country Director of Peace Corps Philippines, Dr. Lynn Cheevers, Metro Manila Center for Health Development Regional Director Dr. Gloria Balboa, and DepEd officials.