Stay vigilant against measles outbreak

Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano urged Filipino families to remain vigilant about the spread of measles in their communities, even after measles cases have started to drop in the past weeks.

The Department of Health (DOH) recently reported that there is already a downward trend in the number of new measles cases in the country, owing to the agency’s intensified immunization campaign.

The principal author and sponsor of Republic Act 10152 or the Mandatory Infants and Children Immunization Act, Cayetano commended the efforts of the DOH, local officials, and barangay health workers on the ground in convincing Filipino parents to have their children vaccinated.

On the other hand, she stressed that there is still no room for complacency when it comes to protecting the children from diseases.

“We are very delighted by DOH’s report that measles cases in the country are already decreasing. But everyone should continue to be vigilant, ready, and non-complacent,” she said in a radio interview in Butuan City.

“Kailangan bumalik nang tuluyan ang kumpyansa sa bakuna. Dahil hindi lang tigdas ang maaaring maging panganib sa buhay ng mga anak natin, marami pang ibang delikadong sakit na pwede namang iwasan sa tulong ng bakuna,” she added.

Cayetano has long been fighting for the promotion of preventive healthcare measures for Filipino families as a way to save them from premature deaths and unnecessary illnesses.

“During my first term in the Senate, I decided to fight for laws that sought to protect children from various diseases, because I do not want to see any child dying despite the presence of preventive measures and solutions like vaccines,” she said.

Even before news broke out regarding the outbreak of measles in several provinces, Cayetano had been going around the country convincing Filipino families to restore their trust in vaccines.

In February, she had led an immunization drive for young children at the Rural Health Unit 3 of Barangay Mabiga in Mabalacat, Pampanga.#

File photo: Mass vaccination program in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

Pia’s birthday wish: More families opening homes to foster care

Taguig Representative and senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano on Friday led the launching of Taguig City’s Foster Care Orientation and Recruitment program, which seeks to encourage foster parenting among more Filipino families. 

The institutionalization of foster care in the country as a preferred way of caring for abused, abandoned, or neglected children is mandated by Republic Act 10165 or the Foster Care Act of 2012. 

The principal author and sponsor of the measure, Cayetano said she drew her inspiration from her own experience in fostering and eventually adopting her son, Rene Lucas Cayetano. 
“Ang wish ko ay mapalaki ang lahat ng bata sa uri ng pamilyang kinalakihan ko – a family full of love, where the parents have a sense of responsibility to prepare their children for a better future” the congresswoman said. 

Cayetano lauded the Taguig city government, under the leadership of Mayor Lani Cayetano, for serving as a model-city in promoting the importance of foster care through its orientation and recruitment program for foster parents.

“I worked on the Foster Care Act for quite some time until it became a law. We really need to see it working in our local government units,” she said. 
RA 10165 stresses that in most cases, foster care is more beneficial than institutional care, in that it provides children with the proper attention and love that only families can give. 

For her part, the congresswoman stressed that there is a need to encourage more Filipinos to consider being foster families to neglected or abandoned children, and to subsequently train them on child care and development. 

According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), about 1.8 million Filipino children are abandoned or neglected due to several reasons, including extreme poverty, natural disasters, and armed conflicts. 

On the other hand, the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) 2017 annual report showed that only 5,819 children were placed in residential care facilities run by the agency. The rest were either placed under institutional care or ended up on the streets.
Apart from the launching of the orientation and recruitment program, Cayetano also witnessed the christening of three babies residing at the Taguig Lingap Center, the city’s temporary shelter for children at risk and the elderly. 

Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano watches from the audience as former representative Lino Cayetano addresses city social welfare workers, volunteers and parents.
Taguig Mayor City Lani Cayetano recounts the programs of the local government to support families and help children at risk.