QUEZON CITY, Sept 20 (PIA) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ “Gusto kong mag-aral” program will be taking another leap as another school building will be formally turned-over to the people of Barangay Pandan in Castilla, Sorsogon today, September 20.
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Eduardo Oban will be the guest of honor during the inauguration of the P1.05 million worth two-classroom building, together with seasoned journalist and ABS-CBN’s Sagip Kapamilya program director Tina Monzon Palma.
The school building project aims to provide access to education for children especially those living in far flung areas.
Recognizing the country’s lack of classrooms coupled with the ballooning number of students, the Armed Forces of the Philippines through the National Development Support Command (NADESCOM),
Department of Education in partnership with the ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya and the local government unit of Castilla town and Sorsogon province went hand in hand to address the shortage of classrooms.
According to the AFP, the “Gusto kong mag-aral” program involves a series of construction of classrooms in different parts of the country in partnership with the different government and private organizations to provide better quality education to marginalized communities.
The project hatched during the groundbreaking and construction of a two-classroom building which started last April 14 in Brgy Yunot, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro, and turned-over in July of this year.
Following this, several school buildings are now being constructed in different areas: Brgy. Salvacion, Albuera, Leyte; Brgy. Dicamay, San Mariano, Isabela, Bragy Pangi, Maco, Compostela Valley; Brgy San Jose, Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte; Brgy Cabangcalan, Aroroy, Masbate; Brgy Calingatnan, Borongan, Eastern Samar; and Pinukpuk Central, Pinukpuk Kalinga province.
Barangay Pandan is one of the 34 barangays of Castilla, a 3rd class municipality and the hometown of the current AFP chief of staff General Oban.
The inadequate number of classrooms, according to teachers, was the main reason why they cannot allow additional enrollment. The two-classroom school building will now allow the school to accept students up to the 4th year next school year.
With the additional classrooms, the teachers said they we will be able to open the 4th year class that will benefit at least 300 students from Barangay Pandan and other students from five other nearby barangays who used to walk several kilometers just to attend to school.
Likewise, parents were also elated saying the new classrooms will be a big help to them since it lessens the cost of travel of their children who are forced to enroll in another barangay due for lack of school rooms.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) headed by Secretary Imelda Nicolas pledged to the people of Pandan that additional help will be provided by the Commission for Filipinos Overseas for another school building next year.
The construction of the school building itself is a product of the cooperation of the people of Barangay Pandan and military personnel from the 903rd Infantry Brigade, 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, 565th Engineer Construction Battalion of the 51st Engineer Brigade of the Army, and the local populace.
Donations like books, blackboards, chairs, tables, cabinets, and other school materials poured in from different partner organizations as the project rolled on, to include the Commission on Filipino Overseas, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Information Agency, Department of Tourism, Department of Agriculture, and some individual donors. (AFP-NADESCOM/PIA-NCR/RJB/JEG)