The City of Mandaluyong has always been a welcoming site for learning and benchmarking activities for local governments. While the city is a consistent recipient of awards for good local governance, nutrition, child-friendliness, and economic competitiveness, it is also proud of its unwavering dedication to providing health and basic social services that are anchored on gender and development (GAD).
The city is currently headed by Mayor Carmencita "Menchie" Abalos, the first female local chief executive of Mandaluyong. Following the footsteps of his husband, former Mayor Benhur Abalos, Mayor Menchie demonstrated that there is a stark difference in the leadership and approach of a female mayor. Her leadership was injected with motherly love – translated into her governance style and development priorities. Mayor Menchie cares so much for the children, women, elderly, and persons with disabilities. These sectors are provided with the services that they need with the GAD fund allocation playing an important role.
Adding to the best practices that other local governments can learn from Mandaluyong is how they utilize their GAD fund and mainstream GAD into the city's various strategies and programs. One notable example of putting the GAD fund to good use is by supporting Project TEACH (Therapy, Education, and Assimilation of Children with Handicap), a community-based program of the city intended to assist disabled children and youth coming from indigent families to avail services such as assessment, physical and speech rehabilitation, and special education, among others. Other programs which are also greatly benefiting from the support received from the GAD fund is the construction of a gender-neutral restroom within the city hall compound in the city's efforts to promote gender equality, free HIV testing, construction and improvement of barangay day care centers, purchase of related equipment and salaries of additional day care center teachers, and education and continuous capacity development programs for the city's registered social workers and day care center teachers. Another interesting initiative shared by the city's GAD Office is their plan to conduct a skills training for women embalmers with the aim to provide them with skills and livelihood and to also respond to the need for women to do embalming for female cadavers.
Mandaluyong City's GAD Office, headed by Ms. Melody Imelda Umali, also provides capacity development activities to city employees and barangays such as gender sensitivity trainings, seminar on violence against women and children (VAWC) provided to both men and women community members, and trainings for members of LGBTQIA in partnership with OutReach International. They also visit all the barangays to conduct IEC campaigns and disseminate the city's GAD Code and Barangay VAWC Desk Handbooks.
With the cases of best practices mentioned above, these provide a snapshot of how Mandaluyong City continues to improve the lives of Mandaleños by maximizing and putting to good use a fraction of the city's resources for GAD, making it not only gender-inclusive but all-inclusive.