An international jury has chosen the City Literacy Coordinating
Council (CLCC) of Tagum City in Davao del Norte as this year’s
Honorable Mention winner of the United Nations Education, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) King Sejong Literacy Prize.
Tagum City’s literacy program was cited for its Peace Management
Literacy and Continuing Education through a Night Market Program. The
program uses peace education activities, literacy teaching and
business entrepreneurship to generate employment for the marginalized
sector. One of its main goals is to sustain a peaceful urban
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the award showed how literacy
such as basic skills in reading, writing and numeracy can empower
people to better direct and control their lives.
“At the end of the day, literacy gives everyone a fighting chance to a
better life,” Luistro added.
The theme of this year’s UNESCO International Literacy Prizes is
literacy and peace with special consideration to gender equality. It
is awarded to individuals, governments or governmental agencies and
non-government organizations in recognition of their effective
practices and successful results in the field of literacy throughout
Years before 2004, night market vendors belonging to different
cultural roots were already visible in Tagum City, positioning
themselves anywhere they please and leaving mounds of garbage all over
This prompted City Mayor Rey Uy to introduce the night market program
which gave small and medium entrepreneurs the opportunity to sustain
their businesses in accordance with an ordinance on the revised code
of economic enterprise of the city.
The ordinance also offered a functional literacy program for the
vendors which included lessons on values formation, literacy, health
awareness, financial literacy and management, solid waste management
and peace education.
“One of the most visible effects of these literacy initiatives is that
many people visit the night market and roam the city streets without
fearing for their lives….and a peaceful community engenders a
vibrant economic activity,” explained Uy.
The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize was created in 1989 by the
Republic of Korea.