The VIP Hotel @ 45: Paying back the years with MDG-FACES
As it marks its 45th anniversary this 20th of July, 2015, Cagayan de Oro’s iconic grand dame of hotels pays back its four decades and a half of existence with an outreach program for the poor in two key areas of its host city.
The VIP Hotel has partnered with the Cagayan de Oro City Government in the implementation of the LGU’s Millennium Development Goals – Family-based Actions on Children and their Environs in the Slums (MDG-FACES) Project since 2014 when Ms. Eileen E. San Juan was appointed to chair the LGUs involvement in the project.
“MDG-FACES empowers LGUs to be dynamic partners of the national government in responding to the challenges of the MDGs,” said Ms. San Juan, a member of the hotel’s Board of Directors. “It engages the participation of forty (40) families living in the slums from select cities, of which Cagayan de Oro is one, and also aims to establish quick response mechanisms, demonstration projects, and sustainability measures that will address the MDG-deficit areas on environment, food, or health directly affecting the quality of life of children in the slums.”
She added they task force has identified mothers as the key to the success of MDG-FACES especially in the monitoring of their children’s attendance and performance in school.
During a “Payback Program hosted by The VIP Hotel staff at its Mandana Hall last Saturday, 11 July 2015, some 20 families from the two target areas of the Carmen dumpsite and Lapasan were treated to games, song and dances, lunch and gift packs.
Speaking in the vernacular, one of the mothers from Lapasan involved in the project related how her family has benefited from MDG-FACES.
“I am happy to have participated in this program since I have seen how it has changed my perception about how to properly raise my children,” said Liza Villegas. “Because of this, I have changed my attitude and habits about how I care for my children, especially in relation to their activities at school.”
The organizers acknowledged the support of its suppliers who pitched with gusto once they learned about MDG-FACES: Bread and Spice Corporation, Cagayan Modern Electrical Supply,
Argayoso Poultry, Cagayan Rice Trader, Tripway Gen, Central Caltex, Mr. Alfonso Sia, QCB & Co., CPAs; Aqua Sweet; Dustin Dale Marketing; Mr. Jonas Cruz; AJG Security; Lamar Bakeshop, Inc. (Best Bake); Ms. Helene C. Escobar & Family, and The VIP Hotel Staff.
The VIP Hotel was inaugurated 45 years ago with 24 rooms and was initially managed by Ms. San Juan’s father, Mr. Sumulong “Yoyong” Escobar. It has since grown to become Cagayan de Oro’s iconic hotel “In the Heart of the City” (as its famous tagline goes) with 79 rooms of what was for many years the city’s tallest edifice with seven floors.
MDG-FACES aims to enhance the capacities of urban poor women/mothers to identify issues, articulate the needs of and set targets for their families, especially of their children, make strategic choices and actions, and monitor their progress to meet MDGs using the Family MDG Covenant;
develop and establish quick response mechanisms at the household, city and national levels to ensure that concrete actions are facilitated to provide solutions addressing MDG issues affecting children in the slums, including the mobilization of national and local governments, business groups, church, academe and civil society for policy, program, financial and capacity-building support; and develop and be tested by the community, models on rights-based actions and solutions addressing MDG deficits in education, food, health and environment that directly impact on the quality of life of children in the slums.