SINSIN, Cebu City (Enero 6, 2023) —Norma Ibones, 27, would have never bothered having her children checked by a doctor despite their dry cough, despite five-year-old Anika already nursing a fever for five days already.

Norma would have just weathered the storm, so to speak, by resorting to herbal medicine and home remedies.

Anika Ibones, five, waits for her turn to be checked by a doctor because of her cough and fever. She was with her mother, Norma, and brother Nathaniel. (PIO/Rachel Toves)

Not that she cared less towards her two children. It is just that going to the doctor in the city proper entails considerable expense for habal-habal fare and doctor’s fee, not to mention the medicine she has to purchase after.

Sinsin, after all, is one of the far-flung mountain barangays of Cebu City, it being located at the boundary with Toledo City and Minglanilla town.

That is why it was music to her ears when Barangay Captain Aurelio Laspoña announced yesterday that the City Government is holding the “City Hall at Your Doorsteps” program in their barangay and that government services, including medical checkup, are offered for free.

Barangay Captain Aurelio Laspoña (in green) monitors his constituents during the “City Hall at Your Doorstep” program in Sinsin. (PIO/Rene Martel)

“Nagpasalamat gyud ko kay libre pa gyud.  Herbal-herbal na man lang unta to,” she said.

This morning, she went early to the barangay gym to have Anika and seven-year-old Nathaniel checked.

She was made happier when she learned she could get free medicine and vitamins for them, too. 

Zyra, three, proudly shows the free medicine she received during the “City Hall at Your Doorstep” in Barangay Sinsin. (PIO/Rachel Toves)

Like her, Necil Lomocso, 39, also went to the barangay gym to have her child, three-year-old Zyra Zhine, checked by a doctor because of her cough.

“Giubo ni siya. Ako na unta ni ipatan-aw sunod adlaw (sa city proper) pero nag-announce man si kapitan gahapon nga naay medical mission,” she said.

Like Norma, she, too, was bothered by the expense in bringing her only child to the doctor in the city proper. That is why it was a relief to her that there was the “City Hall at Your Doorstep”.

“Maong daghan kaayong salamat nianhi mo,” she told Cebu City News while the playful Zyra was nudging her for them to already go home.

Nanay Feliza Siempre, on the other hand, eyed another City Hall service.  She was after the free seedlings distributed by the City Agriculture Department.

“Ako man ning itanom sa akong baol. Unya aron dili na mi makapalit pa (og binhi), amo sab ning ibinhi,” she said.

She said she knew how to farm and had been selling her product at the Tabunok Public Market in Talisay City, as it is nearer and therefore entails less expense, compared to when going to the Carbon Public Market.

“Jean”, 17, while seeking help from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for the late registration of her seven-month-old daughter Jullia. (PIO/Rene Martel)

For Jean (real name withheld), who will turn 18 this Sunday, Jan. 8, the “City Hall at Your Doorstep” was an opportunity to late register seven-month-old daughter Jullia.

“Layo man gud ato sa siyudad (city proper) unya lisod ang kwarta.  Diri kay natudloan ko unsay buhaton. Nagpa-check up man sad ko sa mga bata,” she said.

The whole family members availed of services they could, as her husband Milan, 24, and their eldest, three-year-old Jelan, also joined her and Jullia.

Aside from free consultation, the “City Hall at Your Doorstep” program also provides free medicine and vitamins to the residents of the city. (PIO/Rene Martel)

Jean was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines booth and then to the Office of the City Civil Registrar so Jullia could finally have her birth certificate.

Barangay Captain Laspoña, too, had his own concern on behalf of his constituents. He said that many residents do not have their own title to their respective lots after their parents passed away and the land inheritance got divided among the children.

“Wala nila napatitulohi ang ilang mga bahin nga yuta, unya ang resulta kinsay nagkupot sa titulo maoy magbayad sa tax sa tibuok yuta,” he said.

“City Hall at Your Doorstep” services include free blood typing for the residents of the city. (PIO/Rachel Toves)

The City Hall at Your Doorstep program brings the services of 27 City Hall departments to the very “doorstep” of the people, by offering free services right at their very own barangay.

Partner government agencies and other institutions, like the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, also join in the program, which is held in one of the 80 barangays of the city every Friday. (PIO/rhm)