“Colorful hands, colorful minds.”
Such was the theme of Batang Sining 2016, the city’s culture and arts program for children that held its graduation rites on May 20 at the Emiliana Hall.
Light rains did not stop the students of Batang Sining from presenting their craft before their parents and mentors. The event was supposed to be held at Plaza Mayor, but the organizers opted to hold it in an enclosed space.
City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia, III graced the graduation rites. In his inspirational address, he urged Batang Sining 2016 graduates to pursue their interest in art. He also said that education contributes greatly to the success of an individual, and that young people should never take it for granted.
Officials from the local Department of Education, Dr. Carolina Violeta and Dr. Bernadette Paraiso, also joined Mayor Garcia.
Batang Sining graduates showcased their talents in various art forms, namely: visual, theater, and vocal arts. A group of children performed live mural painting outside Emiliana Hall while their classmates presented alternative renditions of modern songs.
The children underwent a weeklong training facilitated by artists from different groups.
The City Education and Excellence Development Office (CEEDO), headed by Mr. Rodolfo De Mesa, spearheads the annual Batang Sining.
In his closing remarks, De Mesa said that Balanga’s young generation is fortunate for having a city government that looks after their welfare.
“Our present generation is so fortunate. In the past, we did not have programs like Batang Sining. Now, our youth enjoys all forms of support since the city government puts education in its priorities,” De Mesa said.
However, he said that there is more to Batang Sining than having free trainings in art.
“Ang mas mahalaga rito ay binigyan natin ng pagkakataon ang ating mga anak na makasalamuha ang ibang bata,” said De Mesa.
On her part, Dr. Violeta acknowledged the efforts of the city government in promoting a culture of learning among Balangueños.
A learning city
The city government has prioritized education since the start of Garcia’s term as city mayor.
In 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Balanga as a Learning City. At that time, there were 12,000 scholars in Balanga City.
In 2014, Balanga City bagged the National Literacy Award for component city category.
Just recently, the city government has built the first Barangay Learning Hub (BLH) in Brgy. Doña Francisca to augment the learning facilities – not only for students, but also for out-of-school youth. BLH is a computer facility where learners can master various subject matters through self-directed instruction. By Arli Joshua B. Atienza