The Belgian ambassador to the Philippines vowed yesterday to help marginalized children and juvenile delinquents in Bacolod and Negros through programs and projects that uphold their rights and their transition to a better life.
Belgian Ambassador Michel Goffin said that promoting and protecting the rights of the child is one of the commitments of Belgium, that is why they allocated 500,000 euros, or P31 million to the Philippines to help the kids enjoy their rights.
He was in Bacolod to boost the partnership of the Philippines and Belgium in helping the underprivileged children in the country, by unveiling a plaque at the Virlanie’s Open Day Center in Brgy. 18, Bacolod City yesterday.
Virlanie, a Belgian non-government, non-profit organization that helps children who are poor, at risk, abused, and in conflict with the law in Manila and in Negros, has been the partner of the Belgian government in implementing their program to uphold the rights of the child in the country.
He said that the allocation by the Belgian government to help Filipino children will last for only four years but he already had the pledges from Neg. Occ. Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., and Mayor Evelio Leonardia to continue the program and their partnership.
“P31M is very precious money and it came from the taxpayers of Belgium and we want to make sure that it is used for good purposes,” he said, adding that Verlanie is “making miracles” in implementing the program.
He also said he has visited some areas in Bacolod to see the real situation of the children helped by Virlanie, and reiterated that these kids should have a better life.
“The project should be sustained as there is no reason to stop it since there is already a center to house the kids,” he said. The governor have already assured him of this, he added.
“I can go back to Belgium and tell them that their money was gone to a good project,” he said.
Earlier, Goffin met with Marañon at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City, in a courtesy call with Johanna Vandamme, general secretary of a non-government organization in Belgium, and Dominique Lemay, president and founder of Virlanie Foundation, Inc.
They discussed the organic advocacy of the provincial government and the province’s rich source of manpower, in which Goffin is particularly interested.
He said he was also impressed with the environmental conservation efforts of the province.
He will also attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the foundation’s Project, Food Always in the Home (FAITH), that has an organic farm for young adults with disabilities, located in Brgy. Ma-ao, Bago City.
The ambassador is visiting the province for first time and he said he was particularly impressed with the notable developments especially projects that highlight the partnership of the government and the private sector.
He also said that he will definitely return to Negros to discuss a possible partnership in organic advocacy and work opportunities for skilled workers.
Negros Occ. Tourism Officer, Cristine Mansinares, also joined the meeting and presented the tourism attractions of the province.*
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